Trial Run of 20 Plug-In Hybrid Ford Vans To Study Their Contribution to Cleaner Air While Boosting Operator Productivity
Ford and Transport for London are launching a multimillion-pound project designed to help improve air quality in London.
The project features a 12-month trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Ford Transit Custom vans that reduce local emissions running solely on electric power.
Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 trips on a typical weekday, travelling a total of 8 million miles. Vans represent 75 percent of peak commercial traffic, with more than 7,000 vehicles an hour on the road in central London alone.
Ford will provide 20 PHEV Transits to a range of commercial fleets across London, including Transport for London’s fleet, to explore how these commercial vans can contribute to cleaner air targets while boosting operator productivity in urban conditions.
“Ford is the No. 1 commercial vehicle brand in Europe and it’s now going electric. Teaming up with our London partners, we will also be able to trial software and telematics with enormous potential to reduce emissions and costs in the city,” said Jim Farley, Chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.
“This new type of partnership demonstrates our evolution to both an auto and mobility company. We have lots of work to do, but everyone is so energised by this breakthrough opportunity,” added Farley.
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 Transit PHEV vans in the London trial are an advanced design that allows the vehicles to be charged with electricity for zero-emission trips, while featuring an efficient onboard combustion engine for extended range when longer trips are required. Ford is the first volume manufacturer to offer plug-in hybrid technology in this segment.
Development of the 20 fleet vehicles is supported by a £4.7 million grant from Advanced Propulsion Centre. The vans are being designed and engineered at Ford’s technical centre in Dunton and at Prodrive Advanced Technology in Banbury, with support from Revolve Technologies.
“The UK 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 UK 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 planned for commercial introduction in 2019, as one of 13 new electrified vehicles Ford is launching in the next five years globally. This includes a fully electric SUV with an estimated range of at least 300 miles, a high-volume autonomous hybrid vehicle designed for commercial ride-hailing or ride sharing to debut in North America in 2021, and a hybrid version of the iconic Ford Mustang.