Ford aims to clean up van technology

With concerns over air quality hitting the headlines, Ford is undertaking a multi-million pound project to help improve air quality in London by accelerating its electrification plans with 13 new global electrified vehicles scheduled for introduction in the next five years.

A year-long project launching this autumn and supported by Transport for London features a 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.

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 more than 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in Central London alone.

Ford will explore how PHEV vans 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 even more capable, productive and fun to drive – plus more fuel efficient.

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.

A Ford telematics system will collect data on the vehicles’ financial, operational, and environmental performance to analyse 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. 

 

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