1972bhp Ford Pro Electric SuperVan eyes Pikes Peak

The all-electric Ford SuperVan 4 will tackle Pikes Peak hillclimb with Romain Dumas at the wheel

Ford’s iconic SuperVan made a return in 2022 in an all-electric form, a move designed to drum up interest in the new Pro Electric range of Transit vans as well as reaffirm Ford Performance’s focus on electrification. Its Goodwood Festival of Speed debut saw it deploy all 1972bhp on the famous hillclimb, but now it has another in its sights.

This year, Ford Performance will head to Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, tackling the challenging 12.42-mile course with Pikes Peak record holder and three-time Le Mans winner Romain Dumas at the wheel. 2023 marks the 107th anniversary of Ford’s first Pikes Peak appearance in 1916, with this set to be Dumas’ ninth appearance on the mountain.

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Designed and built in collaboration between Ford Performance and Austrian EV competition car specialists STARD, the Pro Electric SuperVan has been built by marrying a standard Pro Electric Transit’s floorplan to a bespoke tubular steel structure. The motorsport-inspired skin of the van was designed by Ford’s European design studio in Cologne with links, albeit tenuous ones, to the road-going version.

Under the skin are four electric motors, two on each axle, and all are powered from a 50kWh battery pack that’s liquid-cooled and mounted right in the middle of the chassis. With so much space inside the van, you won’t be surprised to hear that packaging wasn’t too much of a challenge, but Ford has maintained the basic driving position and even a version of its Sync touchscreen user interface. 

Ford’s estimating that the SuperVan will hit 62mph in under two seconds, and while it will certainly give some much more serious-looking metal a run for its money, we don’t foresee any outright records being broken, other than, perhaps, the one for commercial vehicles. 

Of course, the notion of the Ford SuperVan is nothing new, these high performance one-off Transits having been constructed for promotional purposes from as far back as 1971. The original famously paired the chassis and V8 engine from the Le Mans-winning GT40 with a Mk1 Transit shell, and over the years subsequent SuperVans transformed into bespoke constructions fitted with Ford’s Cosworth-built Formula 1 engines. 

As was the case back then, the new Ford Pro Electric SuperVan doesn’t have much to do with the commercial vehicle that’s about to go on sale, but as a bit of fun from Ford’s marketing department it proves that the Ford Performance brand isn’t going anywhere as we move towards total electrification. 

History of the Ford SuperVan

1971 SuperVan 1

First built in 1971, the original SuperVan combined a Mk1 Transit shell with the rolling chassis and V8 engine of the Le Mans-winning Ford GT40. It produced over 400bhp, which in period was a huge amount of power.

1984 SuperVan 2

In 1984, SuperVan 2 was revealed utilising the chassis from Ford’s C100 Group C endurance racer. Powered this time by Cosworth’s DFL (Dual Four Valve) V8 engine that was initially designed to be used in Formula 1. With the smaller proportions, Ford created a replica of the Mk2 Transit’s body, as the standard shell wasn’t quite the right size for the ‘80s endurance racer chassis.

1994 SuperVan 3

In 1994, SuperVan 3 was revealed with another play on the same formula as its predecessors. Powered this time with the Cosworth HB engine, the Mk3 Transit’s body was again deemed too big to be used, so another ⅞ scale body was constructed.

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