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Ford Transit Custom PHEV | first drive

Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
Ford

Review

Ford’s new Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) offers a 35-mile zero-emission NEDC driving range, and 310 miles total range using a 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine range extender.

This impressive range is combined with claimed economy of 91.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 60g/km (NEDC).

This is achieved by a 92.9kW electric motor driving the front wheels, which is powered by a 13.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Thanks to the underfloor location of the battery, the one-tonne PHEV offers an unchanged net payload of 1,130kg and 6m3 load volume.

It’s efficient, too. According to Ford, the Custom PHEV can be charged in 4.3 hours using a domestic 240-volt 10-amp power supply, or 2.7 hours using a commercial type-2 AC vehicle charger. For added peace of mind, the battery is covered by Ford’s eight-year/100,000-mile battery pack warranty.

Additional energy is captured through regenerative charging. To further aid range, four selectable modes allow drivers to choose how and when to use the available battery charge. They are:

*EV Auto is intended to provide the optimum blend of performance and efficiency.

*EV Now prioritises stored battery energy for emissions-free driving, deactivating the range extender until battery levels reach a minimum state of charge.

*EV Later prioritises the range extender.

*EV Charge uses the range extender to power the van and top up the battery for when further EV Now travel is needed.

Drivers can also choose the degree of energy recovery and braking assistance from the regenerative charging system by selecting either Drive or Low on the gear selector.

To further increase the Custom PHEV’s city centre compliance, in spring 2020 a new geofencing module will be available to automatically switch to zero-emission driving EV Now mode when entering a low-emission zone.

As with all good technological and engineering solutions, the operation and user experience is seamless. The Transit Custom PHEV simply does what you want it to do, when you want it to do it and instils confidence from the moment you get behind the wheel.

In the absence of engine noise, a green van symbol on the dashboard reminds you the vehicle is primed and ready. Select drive on the six-speed automatic ’box and you silently hit the road.

The Custom PHEV is the result of extensive real-world trials with fleets in London – and it shows. Driving dynamics, ride quality and its all-round capability are first class. During the year-long trial, 20 prototype Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid vans covered more than 150,000 miles.

Prices for the plug-in hybrid Custom start from £39,145 (excluding VAT). This compares with £22,295 (excluding VAT) for the 2.0L EcoBlue Custom.

According to Iain Brooks, product marketing manager, Transit/Transit Custom, Ford of Britain, fleet operators should see this differential made back in four to five years.

However, the payback period could be significantly reduced. He explained: “We are working with OLEV at the moment to get the vehicle included on the list of eligible vehicles. Emissions and pure electric range satisfy their requirements, so we are just waiting on whole vehicle type approval.

Once this is achieved, fleets should be looking at “a payback cycle of two-to-three years”.

See Parker's Consumer Review of the Ford Transit.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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