London to trial 20 plug-in hybrid Ford Transit Vans

Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, travelling a total distance of 8 million miles. Vans represent 75 per cent of peak freight traffic, with over 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in Central London alone.  With news of London breaching annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days something needs to change.  Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan promises expand ultra-low emission zone in 2019, which aims to curb the use of the most polluting vehicles, if the wheels are industry are to continue, then commercial vehicles need to adapt or they will soon find themselves locked out of the emissions zone.

A new project, supported by Transport for London, features a 12-month trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans that reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power for the majority of city trips such as deliveries or maintenance work.

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 project is supported financially by the U.K. Government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre.

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 more fuel efficient without compromising on the Ford brands values of fun and engaging driving.

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.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said:

“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 Transit Custom PHEV vans in the London trial are an advanced design that allows them to be charged with mains electricity for zero-emission journeys, while featuring an efficient on-board combustion engine for extended range when longer trips are required. Ford is the first volume manufacturer to offer PHEV technology in this segment of the van market.

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.

Ford was the UK’s No. 1 selling commercial vehicle brand for the 51st consecutive year in 2016. The Transit Custom PHEV van is planned for commercial introduction in 2019, part of the automaker’s $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020 which includes 13 new global electrified vehicles Ford is launching in the next five years. This total includes a fully electric SUV with an estimated range of at least 300 miles.

The Founder of driveEV. A driving and new technology fan enjoying learning all about the future of motoring. I drive a BMW i3.