Ford is launching a 12-month trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans in partnership with Transport for London.
Ford will provide 20 PHEV Transits to a range of commercial fleets across London, including Transport for London’s fleet, to explore how such vans can contribute to cleaner air targets while boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions – the toughest working environment for vehicles.
The vans are expected to have an NEDC pure electric range of up to 31 miles.
The project is supported financially by the U.K. Government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre.
“This exciting project in London shows how innovative technology can help improve the prosperity and quality of life in our congested cities,” said Jim Farley, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe. “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.”
Ford is focusing its EV plan on its areas of strength – electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive – plus more fuel efficient.
Scheduled to launch in autumn this year, the fleet trial is part of Ford’s commitment to work with major cities around the world to tackle their local transport challenges, and help people and goods move more easily.
“The freight sector’s transition to ultra-low emission vehicles is central to cleaning up London’s toxic air,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. “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 trial fleet will operate in everyday use across a cross-section of city-based businesses, using a Ford telematics system to collect data on the vehicles’ financial, operational and environmental performance to help understand how the benefits of electrified vehicles can be maximised.
Development of the 20 Transit Custom PHEV fleet trial vehicles has been supported by a £4.7m grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre.
The vans are being designed and engineered at Ford’s Dunton, U.K., technical centre, and at Prodrive Advanced Technology in Banbury, U.K., with programme support from Revolve Technologies.
“The U.K. is a global leader in low emission motor technology. This new project, with nearly £5 million of government money, has secured work here in the U.K. and demonstrates our commitment to not only reducing carbon emissions, but to work with industry on developing next generation technology that will make a real difference to people’s lives,” said Nick Hurd, Climate Change and Industry Minister.
“This government will continue to work with the auto sector as we develop a comprehensive Industrial Strategy that will increase productivity, create high skilled jobs and ensure sustainable economic growth.”
The Transit Custom PHEV is just one of 13 new global electrified vehicles Ford is launching in the next five years.