AAAaaarrrgghhh… That is what happened in the first 20 seconds of my passenger ride in the Ford SuperVan 4.2.

    My brain was still parked on the start line but my eyeballs had jumped out on stalks as the battery-electric speed machine launched with the ferocity of one of Elon Musk’s Falcon space rockets.

    We were at 240km/h in less than five seconds and that’s not the worst of it.

    This thing – it’s the only word that works – was still accelerating with the punch of a Porsche Taycan Turbo S from a standing start at the corner shop.

    “Stop. Please stop. Stop now,” I was pleading inside my crash helmet.

    Then as my pilot stomped on the brakes, there is a split-second of weightlessness as the SuperVan wiped off speed, and then we were crashing over a set of S-bend curves that tossed me around in my full race seat despite a six-point safety harness.

    It was full-on and flat-out craziness in a machine which challenges the laws of physics. But, wait, there’s more…

    All this is happening with none of the traditional soundscape of a modern hypercar. There is none of the whelp of a V12 Lamborghini, or the syncopated thunder of an Audi R8, or the pop-bang-whistle-growl of a Mercedes-AMG GT.

    The SuperVan is super in almost every way, but it still needs a warning beeper to tell people when it’s about to move.

    On our flat-out laps at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival, its electric motors are whining like demented Dysons, and there is an occasional yelp from a tortured tyre, but otherwise the noise creates no more drama than sitting on my couch on a Sunday afternoon.

    When it stops, I am left stunned. It takes minutes, not just seconds, to process what has happened and how it happened.

    I’ve taken some wild rides in the past, from rollercoasters to a two-seater Formula 1 car, but this is something else.

    Even Liam Lawson, who raced Formula 1 last year and is the reserve driver for Red Bull in season 2024, struggled to put the SuperVan into words.

    “It accelerates like a Formula 1 car. And it’s pretty good through the corners,” he told me.

    “The feeling of exhilaration is that it’s just completely instant. As soon as you start accelerating you’re already braking for the next corner.”

    Lawson admitted he took time to adjust, even though my laps were his first flat-out sprint in Adelaide.

    “You sit so high. That’s really weird. It’s a really weird feeling. It feels like driving a Transit van, but really, really fast.”

    Imagine how it must have felt for Romain Dumas, the French racer who has starred at Le Mans, when he hustled SuperVan to a new benchmark lap time at Mount Panorama. He lapped the bulky beast around Bathurst in 1 minute 56.7647 seconds and went more than 300km/h – both up and down the mountain.

    For perspective, on the same weekend the fastest Supercars qualifying lap was set by Broc Feeney in a Chevrolet Camaro at 2 minutes 5.322 seconds.

    The SuperVan is so stupidly fast because it was developed for one job – to set the fastest time at the Pikes Peak hillclimb in the USA. It reset the mark for its class but missed the outright mark set – ironically, also by Dumas – in the Volkswagen I.D. R, another electric car.

    SuperVan 4.2 is a further development of Ford’s flag waving program for electrification and the numbers are plain crazy.

    It has four electric motors for a combined 1040kW of power and 2000Nm of torque. Its claimed 0-100km/h time is less than two seconds and it will only run flat-out for less than 15 minutes before it needs a big cool-down and recharging.

    The bodywork, which is similar to a Ford Transit but only after extensive motorsport morphing, makes two tonnes of downforce at 240km/h.

    The most ‘ordinary’ thing about SuperVan is the cabin. It’s easy to get in despite the serpentine roll-cage, there is plenty of leg and headroom, and the view is great.

    But there are no infotainment screen and it looks more like a science experiment than a delivery truck.

    Checking later, and discovering giant electrical cables snaking under the carbon-fibre skin and hand-made motorsport parts in every nook and cranny, it’s obvious that the SuperVan is much more ’super’ than ‘van’. I cannot even find enough space to carry a DHL box.

    Does that matter? Of course not.

    The SuperVan is all about headlining electrification technology and entertaining motorsport fans around the world.

    It’s a spaceship, not a van, with the ability to bend time and turn journalists into gibbering idiots.

    I know, because I’m still smiling and it’s been days since I thanked Liam Lawson and went to sit down to steady the world.

    Right now I’m sitting and smiling. Probably because I know I don’t have to strap into the SuperVan again.

    MORE: Electric van shatters Bathurst lap record – here’s what it beat

    Paul Gover

    Paul Gover is one of the most experienced and respected motoring journalists in Australia. After more than 40 years on the automotive beat there is nothing he has not done, yet he still brings the enthusiasm of a rookie. He has worked in print, digital, radio, television and for every major publisher in the country. He is also a national motor racing champion and once co-drove with Peter Brock at Bathurst.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers