New Ford SuperVan 4 revealed with 1973bhp of all-electric power

Electric racing

The new all-electric Ford SuperVan 4 can accelerate from 0-62mph in under 2sec and is making its debut this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Ford electric SuperVan 4 lead image

Four electric motors can power the Electric SuperVan from 0-62mph in under two seconds

If there really is no substitution for cubic inches, then this must be the ultimate performance machine — even though it doesn’t have an engine.

Ford has unveiled the fourth-generation of its racing-bred SuperVan, which channels 1973bhp of electric power through four motors for performance that your plumber can only dream of.

Making its debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan will scream up the hillclimb on its purpose-built chassis from Ford’s racing division, and powered by a 50kWh battery.

With more than three times as much power as the Goodwood hillclimb record-holder, Volkswagen’s ID R electric sports car, the van could stand a chance of becoming the fastest vehicle up the course if it runs in Sunday’s shootout, a possibility that can only be helped by its driver this weekend: Romain Dumas, who set the previous record for VW.

Despite the less-than-practical aerodynamic pinched rear end, the promotional vehicle still has a load bay, where an electromagnetic system is being developed to hold cargo securely (and release it at the touch of a button) at cornering speeds that even the most time-pressed tradesperson would balk at.

It follows in the established tradition of Ford’s previous SuperVans, which have been irresistible fan favourites since the first one appeared in 1971. Up to now, they have garishly combined Britain’s favourite commercial vehicle with high-output racing engines for no reason than the spectacle alone.

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“We’re bringing SuperVan into the 21st century with 2,000PS (1973bhp) of all-electric power,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, of Ford Performance Motorsports. “But performance isn’t all about horsepower – the Electric SuperVan’s processing power means engineers can use real-time vehicle data to optimise its performance, just like on a top-level racing car.”

Goodwood is likely to be the first in a series of publicity stunts for the van, and there are several clues as to where you might see it — or its cloud of tyre smoke — next.

It’s fitted with driving modes including ‘Track’, which optimises performance for slick tyres, as well as ‘Drag’ for radial drag strip rubber. There’s also a ‘Rally’ map, and a ‘Drift’ setting for powersliding on tarmac and snow. A ‘Road’ mode is also included, for the option of joining its production siblings in the outside lane.

Ford electric SuperVan front
Ford electric SuperVan4 cornering

Hiring Dumas may be a statement of intent as well: the two-time Le Mans winner set a string of records in the Volkswagen ID R, including at Pikes Peak and the Nürburgring.

Although it’s fitted with a raft of cameras to broadcast its runs from multiple angles, it’s built to be more than just a show car, with unequal-length double wishbone suspension for maximum tyre contact, motor sport-grade suspension and racing brakes.

The new SuperVan 4 — officially called Ford Pro Electric SuperVan — is the latest in a line of vehicles that began with the chassis and 435bhp V8 engine from a Ford GT40. Terry Drury Racing then added a Mk1 Transit body over the top to make a vehicle capable of 150mph+, with impressive times in show races.

For SuperVan 2, Ford turned to the chassis of its Group C C100, powered by a Cosworth DFL V8, and shrouded in Mk2 Transit bodywork. It was then upgraded to SuperVan 3, with Mk3 bodywork and a Benetton F1-derived 650bhp V8 engine, which demanded a specialist support team to run. Later in its life, this was switched for a Cosworth V6.