Ford’s new plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Transit Custom van (earlier post) made its debut at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2017 event in Millbrook, UK. The vehicle makes its first appearance as Ford prepares 20 PHEV Transits for the 12-month fleet customer trial in London that begins in late 2017.
Scheduled for volume production in 2019, the Transit Custom PHEV has an advanced series hybrid system that targets a zero-emission range exceeding 50 kilometers (31 miles), and features the multi-award winning Ford EcoBoost 1.0-liter gasoline engine as a range extender. The EcoBoost engine charges the on-board batteries when longer trips are required between charging stops, providing operators with efficiency and flexibility.
The battery pack is a compact liquid-cooled lithium-ion design located under the load floor, preserving the full cargo volume offered by the standard Transit Custom van.
The PHEV approach provides city-based commercial vehicle operators with a range of benefits. In addition to the zero-emission capability exceeding 50 kilometers, the Transit Custom PHEV uses gasoline for a target total range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles). The PHEV also has an increased payload capacity compared to battery-only electric vehicles, and the ability to offer quick and easy recharging from a standard electricity supply.
Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, traveling a total distance of 8 million miles (13 million kilometers). Vans represent 75% of peak freight traffic, with more than 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in Central London alone.
The London fleet trial project is supported by Transport for London, and features a cross-section of city-based businesses, including Metropolitan Police, that will integrate the vans into their day-to-day operations. To help understand how the benefits of electrified vehicles could be maximised, the 20 PHEV Transits will use an advanced telematics system to collect real-time data on the vans’ performance.
In addition, the vehicles will feature geofencing technology, which is capable of automatically modifying vehicle settings based on each van’s current location. This could be used, for example, to ensure the hybrid system is switched to electric-only mode when a vehicle enters a low-emission zone within an inner-city area.
Cleaner vans, like those being used in this trial, will be vital in helping the freight and fleet sector to reduce the emissions and play its part in tackling the Capital’s air quality crisis. We are also using the data from the trial, which will be an invaluable resource for our LoCITY program that encourages commercial businesses to use greener vehicles.—Lilli Matson, Transport for London’s Director of Transport Strategy
Development of the 20 Transit Custom fleet trial vehicles has been supported by a £4.7-million (US$6.1-million) grant from the UK Government-funded 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 program support from Revolve Technologies.