April 28, 2017
Ford is to trial 20 plug-in hybrid Transit Custom models to meet rapidly-approaching new limits on vehicle emissions in order to improve air quality in Britain’s capital city.
The multi-million pound project is being launched as the manufacturer steps up its electrification plans with as many as thirteen new global electrified vehicles scheduled for release in the next five years.
Supported by Transport for London (TfL), the project involves a year-long trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid Transit Custom vans – announced earlier this month. The aim is to cut local emissions by running on electric power for the majority of city centre journeys.
Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, covering as much as 8 million miles. Seventy-five percent of peak freight traffic is made up by vans and during peak times, over 7,000 vehicles per hour drive in Central London.
Ford will provide 20 Transit Custom plug-in hybrid vans to a range of commercial fleets across London as the project aims to determine how electric vehicles can contribute to pollution targets and improve productivity for fleet operators in urban environments.
Financial support is being provided by the Government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre.
Ford of Europe chairman and CEO, Jim Farley, said: “This exciting project in London shows how innovative technology can help improve the prosperity and quality of life in our congested cities. Ford is the top-selling commercial vehicle brand in Europe, so it’s fitting that this Transit plug-in hybrid is leading the electric vehicle revolution for business users.”
Naturally, Ford is focusing on its strengths with its EV plan – electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles to create even more capable, productive and fuel-efficient vehicles.
Due to launch in the autumn, the fleet trial is part of Ford’s ongoing commitment to work with the world’s major cities to address their local transport challenges.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, says: “The freight sector’s transition to ultra-low emission vehicles is central to cleaning up London’s toxic air. Transport for London continues to lead by example by increasing the number of its own vehicles that are electric and will find the data from these trials an invaluable resource for the LoCITY programme, which encourages the uptake of low emission commercial transport.”
The Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrids involved in the London trial feature an advanced design that means they can be charged with mains electricity for shorter, zero-emission journeys. For longer trips, an efficient on-board combustion engine provides extended range. To gather data on these vehicles’ financial, operational and environmental performance, Ford have fitted telematics systems to the vans. This will help understand how the benefits of electric vehicles can be exploited.
The Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrid will be able to travel for at least 30 miles on electric power, while the company’s target is for these new models to run with CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km.
Ford is the first to offer electric vehicle technology in this section of the van market, and was the UK’s number one selling commercial vehicle brand for the 51st consecutive year in 2016. Ford’s LCV range includes the Transit Courier, Transit Connect, Transit Custom, Transit and Ranger pick-up.