Ford's all-electric SuperVan 4 shown off at Goodwood

David Roy

FORD unveiled the latest version of their iconic SuperVan at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed.

It was an all-too appropriate launch pad for the fourth incarnation of Ford's track-spec Transit: the first ever SuperVan to be powered by an electric motor – four, in fact – it puts out a whopping 1,973bhp, 1,300 lb ft of torque and offers a neck-snapping 0-to-60 time of just under two seconds on its way to a top speed of approximately 200mph.

Just like the Porsche Taycan EV, the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan 4 (to give it its full title) employs a two-speed gearbox; its low gear secures that scorching acceleration while the high gear ensures it never runs out of puff.

Unsurprisingly, it's Ford's fastest van ever, with more 'oomph' than electric hypercars like the Lotus Evija and Pininfarina Battista.

To be fair, it's really just the logical evolution for this blue oval showpiece: Ford's original 1971 SuperVan was a Mk1 Transit powered by a mid-mounted engine taken from the Le Mans-winning Ford GT40.

SuperVan 2 featured a fibreglass Transit Mk2 bodyshell and the 590hp Cosworth V8 from Ford's C100 racing car, while SuperVan 3 was powered by the 650hp Cosworth HB engine which then normally found in Formula 1 cars.

SuperVan 4 had a lot to live up to, then: however, the designers and engineers at Ford Performance and Austrian electrified rally specialists STARD have done a fine job.

A purpose-built, track-ready chassis featuring components from the E-Transit Custom 1 is complemented by Ford's SYNC touchscreen technology from road-going Ford models like the Mustang Mach E.

As you might expect, it's enhanced with additional functionality to control the Electric SuperVan's terrifying capabilities: Ford engineers can use real-time vehicle data to optimise its performance, as with a top-level racing car.

Motorsport-spec construction marries the E-Transit Custom floorpan with a steel spaceframe and lightweight composite body panels, while a bespoke 50kWh liquid-cooled battery pack is mounted for optimum weight distribution and a low centre of gravity and can be fully recharged in approximately 45 minutes using a standard electric vehicle fast-charger.

SuperVan 4 is also equipped with a suite of onboard cameras to capture and stream its high-performance track outings. Drivers can pull camera feeds onto the dash-mounted touchscreen and switch between them to help position the vehicle.

Best of all, it's still very much a utility vehicle: SuperVan 4 features a loadspace behind the driver, with a bodyside door for loading and unloading cargo.

The fastest van in the land was put through its paces at Goodwood when it tackled the event's legendary 1.16-mile hillclimb with Le Mans racer and electric record-setter Romain Dumas behind the wheel.

In 2019, Dumas set a new hillclimb record of 39.9 seconds with the electric Volkswagen ID.R race car: he only managed sixth this year in the SuperVan 4 with a time of 46.58 secs – seven-and-a-half seconds behind the top placed Max Chilton in the Batmobile-esque all-electric McMurtry Spéirling, who shaved over eight-tenths of a second off Dumas' 2019 time to set a new record of 39.08 seconds.

Still, not a bad effort for a van – and what a van it is.