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Ford, London partner to test plug-in hybrid commercial vans

Published 23 January 2017

Ford Motor is launching a new project designed to help enhance air quality in London as the automaker accelerates its electrification plans with 13 new global electrified vehicles due for introduction in the next five years.

The project, supported by Transport for London, 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 for the majority of city trips such as deliveries and maintenance work.

Scheduled to launch this fall, it is part of Ford’s commitment to work with major cities around the world to tackle local transportation challenges to help people and goods move freely.

Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 trips on a typical weekday, traveling a total of 8 million miles. Vans represent 75% of peak commercial traffic, with more than 7,000 vehicles an hour on the road in central London alone.

Ford will provide 20 plug-in hybrid Transit Custom vehicles 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 – the toughest working environment for vehicles.

The project is supported financially by the UK government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre.

Ford of Europe chairman and CEO Jim Farley said: “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.

“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 energized by this breakthrough opportunity.”

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.

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.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan 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 program, which encourages the uptake of low-emission commercial transport.”  

The Transit Custom plug-in hybrid 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 on-board 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.

The fleet will operate across a cross-section of city-based businesses day-to-day. A Ford telematics system will collect data on vehicle financial, operational and environmental performance to help understand how the benefits of electrified vehicles can be optimized.

Development of the 20 fleet vehicles is supported by a £4.7m grant from Advanced Propulsion Center. The vans are being designed and engineered at Ford’s technical center in Dunton and at Prodrive Advanced Technology in Banbury, with support from Revolve Technologies.

Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd said: “The UK is a global leader in low-emission motor technology. This new project, with nearly £5m 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.

“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.”

Ford was Europe’s No. 1-selling commercial vehicle brand for the second consecutive year in 2016.

Transit Custom plug-in hybrid is planned for commercial introduction in 2019, part of Ford’s $4.5bn investment in electrified vehicles by 2020 as it evolves to be both an auto company and a mobility company – a leader in electrified vehicles, autonomous vehicles and new mobility solutions.

Transit Custom is 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.

Ford has a memorandum of understanding with several other automakers to create the highest-powered charging network for electric vehicles in Europe.



Source: Company Press Release