Ford is launching a multi-million pound project designed to help improve air quality in London. The 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 plans to introduce a Transit Custom PHEV van on the market in 2019; the Transit Custom PHEV vans in the London trial are an advanced prototype 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 maximized.
Development of the 20 Transit Custom PHEV fleet trial vehicles has been supported by a £4.7-million (US$5.8-million) grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre. The vans are being designed and engineered at Ford’s Dunton, UK, technical center, and at Prodrive Advanced Technology in Banbury, UK, with program support from Revolve Technologies.
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. 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.—Jim Farley, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe
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.
Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, travelling a total distance of 8 million miles (13 million km). Vans represent 75% of peak freight traffic, with more than 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in Central London alone.
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 program, which encourages the uptake of low emission commercial transport.—Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
The Transit Custom PHEV is just one of 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, 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 Mustang sports car. Ford also has a memorandum of understanding with several other automakers to create the highest-powered charging network for electric vehicles in Europe.
LoCITY is an industry led initiative developed by Transport for London to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions by lowering the impact of freight and fleet vehicles on the environment.