Trial shows Ford Plug-in-Hybrid Transit van able to dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions even without a fully established electric vehicle charging network.


Three months since the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London, the results of a year-long trial in the U.K. capital suggest that Plug-in Hybrid Electric (PHEV) commercial vehicles could present the most practical, readily available option for businesses trying to meet clean-air targets in cities.

Production models of the Transit Plug-in Hybrid will feature revised displays to educate drivers in achieving maximum electric regeneration The trial which was supported by a £4.7 million (approx. $8 million) grant from the U.K. Government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre, consisted of 20 Ford Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid vans covering 240,000 km over a 12-month period. The trial sought to test whether businesses could carry out the typical daily duties of their diesel-powered vehicles, while maximising the use of zero-emissions electric-only mode.

The participants in the trial - from Addison Lee Group to Transport for London and Vodafone - represented a cross-section of city-based businesses, and integrated the Ford Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid vans into their day-to-day operations.

During the trial, 75% of the fleet's mileage in Central London and 49% in Greater London was completed using pure electric power. The results highlight that even without a fully established electric vehicle charging network, the hybrid vans were able to dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions in the inner city, using the flexibility of a petrol range-extender to complete longer journeys when required.

Compact battery pack is charged with a standard 230V supply and does not compromise load capacity Ford has already incorporated lessons from the trial to optimise the Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid production model that will go on sale to customers at the end of 2019. Enhancements include increased motor performance, optimised operating strategies, and revised displays to educate drivers in achieving maximum electric regeneration.

Further trials in Cologne and Valencia will provide data from different markets, and will involve a mix of Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid vans and new Tourneo Custom Plug-In Hybrid people-movers. These two models are the first vehicles in their classes to offer plug-in hybrid technology and offer a standard eight-year battery warranty.

The new vehicles target a zero-emission driving range of 50km and use a 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine as a range extender for total range exceeding 500km, thus eliminating range anxiety. A compact battery pack located under the vehicle floor can be conveniently charged using a standard 230V supply and is designed so that the interior space and load capacity of the vehicle is not compromised.

Ford recently announced that a new all-electric Ford Transit will join the company's European line-up of electrified commercial vehicles in 2021. Designed to deliver pure-electric propulsion, the new van will contribute to cleaner, quieter towns and cities, and reduced running costs for business and operators.