First outing for Ford's hybrid Transit van

The Transit Custom PHEV van

The Transit Custom PHEV van

The Transit Custom PHEV van was given its official debut by Ford at last week’s Low Carbon Vehicle Event 2017, which was held in Bedfordshire, ahead of its year-long trial in the UK.

This hybrid LCV is setting out to bridge the gap between standard diesel models and true zero-emission vans, which are set to become a necessity in the long term. While just 20 are set to go into service in London before the end of the year, Ford plans to embrace full production by 2019, according to Business Vans.

As the name suggests, the Transit Custom PHEV is a plug-in hybrid that combines a petrol engine with a battery-powered electric motor. This gives it the ability to operate without producing any harmful substances when moving at slower speeds whilst still having the range and power of a traditional van.

The petrol engine is one of Ford’s critically-acclaimed EcoBoost units. Its compact 1.0-litre capacity means that it is not the most powerful option available; however, it benefits from a turbo charger to go above and beyond its raw specifications.

The electric motor and battery array can deliver 31 miles of zero-emissions driving before it needs to be plugged back into the mains. The petrol engine will charge up the batteries in addition to powering the car over longer journeys, serving a double purpose and keeping recharge times to a minimum.

Ford spokesperson Mark Harvey said the company wanted to make sure that the Transit range could thrive even as the LCV market makes the shift to electric technology. Talking at the PHEV’s debut, he said this van would not only lessen the environmental impact of commercial vehicles but also save businesses money.

This type of van is especially well suited to work in the capital, where 75 per cent of commercial driving is carried out in vans, representing almost six million miles each week. Switching to hybrid and eventually full-electric vehicles will put a massive dent in London’s carbon footprint, improving air quality and cutting noise pollution.

Transport for London representative Lilli Matson reaffirmed the importance of the introduction of greener, cleaner vans into cities and said that the information accumulated over the course of the trial will be used to prove to businesses that there are various benefits associated with making the switch from traditional vehicles.

The Transit Custom will be the first plug-in hybrid van to be offered by a major manufacturer catering to this segment of the market, making it a significant release. Due to the way in which the batteries are built into the chassis of the vehicle, it has the same interior space available for cargo as its diesel-powered counterparts.

Ford is spending billions on the development of hybrid and electric vehicles, with at least 13 models in this category on the cards over the next half-decade. It has already worked with organisations in other countries to build electric vans; now, the UK is feeling the benefits.

Categories: Ford / Transit /

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