Volkswagen is in the final stages of developing the next-generation Transporter ahead of its arrival later this year.
Spotted testing on roads around Germany in electric form, the Ford Transit Custom twin will adopt an all-new architecture developed with Ford, allowing it to become available as an EV for the first time.
Previously shown in a teaser video, the hugely popular van was pictured dressed in heavy camouflage, with just a wide grille and headlamp redesign the obvious visual changes over the outgoing model.
Two versions were spotted; the cargo-carrying panel van and tipper. From launch, it will again be available as a nine-seater Shuttle, a two-row Kombi and the panel van.
A Sportline trim is also expected to be offered, although this hasn't yet been confirmed.
The van makes up two-thirds of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) sales and will be built at the Ford Otosan factory in Turkey.
For the first time, the Transporter won't serve as the basis for the California camper van. Instead, that model will be derived from the MQB-based Multivan MPV, as previewed by a concept in August.
VWCV boss Carsten Intra told Autocar: “A Multivan has to be much more comfortable and much more upscale [than the Transporter]. This is why we now have two line-ups. This is a really important project.”
The Transporter “will be our only multi-traction vehicle”, said Intra. “We can't afford to build another platform [for the same vehicle]. It's just too expensive. This is a vehicle that, unlike the California, doesn’t give you the highest margin per sale.”
He added: “We have a lot of customers that need the space and need a BEV but others that can't yet afford a BEV but drive in cities so want a hybrid. We can now offer that.”
The Transporter is expected to use Ford’s batteries, electric motors, engines, gearboxes and chassis structures across its line-up.