The Ford E-Series has been in production for almost six decades, serving fleets as passenger vehicles, cargo haulers, emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, RVs, work vans, and countless other variations with its well-known cutaway cab and chassis designs. After many years of a holding pattern on design updates, the E-Series is receiving its long-awaited refresh for 2021. New engine options, a modernized dashboard and steering wheel, technology and safety updates, and exciting upfitter options are all part of the new package Ford is offering for E-Series cutaways. If your fleet needs updating, this may be a perfect time to replace the old with the new. 2021 Ford commercial vehicles can finally provide the technologically-advanced features every fleet needs to operate more safely and more efficiently.
The Command Center
It’s been at least ten years since Ford updated the look of the command center of the E-Series cabs, and drivers will no doubt be happy to get a little well-deserved freshness for the space where many folks have to spend countless hours of their weeks. A comfortable front seat is a boon when you spend your days driving, and the creature comfort of having a steering wheel that can tilt and telescope means that no matter how short or tall you are, that steering wheel won’t add to the stress of your workday. Steering wheel-mounted controls for the audio system and cruise control add another aspect of ease to the driving. Driving is much safer when fatigue and discomfort and reduced through improved ergonomics.
The instrument cluster also gains an update with useful information typically required for on-the-job recording, like how much fuel is left in the tank, how many miles were traveled, and other data drivers often have to compute on their own in order to keep track of their logged hours on the road. If drivers find themselves having to stop to make phone calls, the Bluetooth connectivity can be a game-changer that allows drivers hands-free phone service so they can keep moving and get to the next job sooner.
Technology and Safety
Ford is taking fleet vehicles into the future with its means of keeping track of data from commercial vehicles with technology. This can both protect people in the workforce and allow management to keep track of its fleet using cloud services. Telematics can help management access information about their commercial vehicles through GPS tracking, which can deliver details about driver performance and fuel consumption or can alert you when a vehicle needs servicing. This kind of technology can provide a wider view of overall vehicle functioning through a single program instead of having to create spreadsheets of data.
A Transportation Mobility Cloud is another technology Ford is providing to allow tracking of vehicle data that is securely delivered via Ford’s telematics systems. It can be connected with third-party systems for sharing with partners and may offer professional insight into vehicle operations from Ford itself. For fleets with large numbers of vehicles, it can be a challenge to keep track of every vehicle’s operations, remembering when the vehicles need regular maintenance, and whether or not drivers are on schedule. All these are trackable with Ford’s technology, plus the system can be updated without having to go to the shop, which saves on time and money.
Driver-assisted safety is common in personal vehicles, and it makes a good business decision to have it on commercial and professional vehicles, too. With the available safety features, drivers who may get sleepy on the road, who may be distracted, or who might not see pedestrians while they back out of a delivery zone can get a little extra help to avoid accidents. Features like automatic emergency braking can potentially avoid a frontal crash, the distance alert issues a warning if the driver gets too close to a vehicle ahead, and lane departure warning can alert the driver who may drift out of the designated lane. These safety features are available as options outside of the standard hill start assist and stability and traction control.
Upfitted for Customization
One of the most exciting new additions to the E-Series for 2021 is the option for several types of upfitting interface modules with much less work than in the past. These features are factory-installed and can be programmed to connect electrical devices and aftermarket equipment that would typically require more involved access to the electrical system of the vehicle. Instead of having to tear apart the vehicle to get to the wiring, Ford installs ports and program switches to more readily “plug in” additional equipment like lift buckets, sirens, or radio systems.
The system is wired for up to nine inputs that can be programmed with a laptop to configure each port for the specified function of the equipment to be added. There are four switch types available: two 30 amp, a 15 amp, and a 10 amp. Each switch comes with the appropriate fuses and relays so your aftermarket equipment can be accommodated by the truck’s on-board electrical system. Imagine how much easier and quicker a rig can be outfitted with all the proper equipment with these ready-for-access modules.
Models and Engine Options
Three cutaway cabs are available that can be configured for specific commercial or business needs with two engine options. The E-350 single rear wheel is most likely to be able to handle the needs of any type of ambulance, RV, or work truck requirement. This model has a GVWR of 10,050 lbs and is powered by either the 7.3-liter V8 premium-rated or economy-rated engine. The premium-rated V8 makes 350 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque, while the economy-rated engine makes 300 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. Depending on whether you want better performance or need a more fuel-efficient output, the engines provide both options.
The middle option is the E-350 dual rear wheel model, which serves a heavier-duty need in a commercial truck. This model offers a GVWR of between 11,500 and 12,500 lbs and can handle a payload of up to 7,210 lbs. At the top of the range is the E-450 dual rear wheel, which has a GVWR of up to 14,500 lbs and a maximum payload of 8,980 lbs. As the biggest beast of the three, this is the model for handling towing jobs or other heavy-duty work.
Any of these models can be fitted with either choice of V8 engine, both of which are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Towing is made easier with electronic management of the load being hauled by switching into the tow/haul mode on the center stack. The on-board computer system will automatically sense the weight and driving conditions to assist in stabilizing the trailer. To get the most out of the truck’s performance, the premium-rated V8 is the option to choose. With the economy V8, there will be less power in order to provide better efficiency.
Ready to Update the Fleet?
To purchase an E-Series cutaway, contact your nearest commercial Ford dealer. You can locate a dealer that is certified to sell Ford commercial vehicles by searching for a commercial vehicle center. At these locations, you can expect to find sales representatives trained in providing services to fleets and businesses. Because the E-Series cutaway will be purchased as a cab and chassis, the buyer will then have to upfit the chassis to the specs needed for the intended commercial use.
Having a certified dealership provide information about the new updates and how a 2021 E-Series truck can fit into your commercial needs will make purchasing the right cutaway model easier. Find a Ford dealership with a commercial vehicle center, and your fleet can be updated with technology that can change your business operations with incredible simplicity. Get ready to delete those old spreadsheets when you upgrade to telematics and cloud service.