London Rollout of Hybrid Transit Custom Vans Commences

The first twenty Transit Custom vans from Ford to feature a hybrid power train have arrived in the UK capital.

The first twenty Transit Custom vans from Ford to feature a hybrid power train have arrived in the UK capital.

Last month saw the first twenty Transit Custom vans from Ford to feature a hybrid power train arrive in the UK capital, bringing with them the promise of cleaner and more efficient urban motoring with all the same benefits that are expected of a modern LCV.

Transport for London is backing this small-scale trial, which is set to be conducted over the coming year, with plug-in hybrid technology allowing the vans to operate without generating the same volumes of harmful emissions while travelling on the city's congested streets, according to Business Vans.

Testing Effectiveness 

Each day commercial vehicles cover around eight million miles in London alone, with three-quarters of this group being made up of vans during peak periods. This equates to around 7,000 vans being pressed in amongst the huge number of other vehicles in Central London when rush hour strikes, showing the extent of the problem that this trial seeks to address.

TfL itself will be taking charge of some of the hybrid Transit Custom vans to use for maintenance work and other duties within its various departments. The rest will be supplied to a handful of businesses to see how effective they can be in other commercial settings.

As with other hybrid vehicles, these vans feature a traditional engine along with a battery-powered electric motor system, which will come into play when moving at slow speeds. So for the stop-start driving conditions that typify London’s roads, many of the journeys completed in the hybrid Transit Custom vans will be powered solely by electricity.

Ford spokesperson Jim Farley said that this scheme would not only demonstrate that these new LCVs are well suited to the rigorous use they will face in the commercial world but should also show that they can have a positive impact on the quality of life for all who live in and visit London over the next 12 months.

Environmental Impact

Reducing emissions not only improves the quality of the air but also causes less damage to the environment as a whole. And vans operating on electric motors are quieter and less disruptive than those with traditional diesel engines, which are active at all times.

Of course, with just 20 hybrid Transit Custom vans being put into service as part of this trial, the tangible impact will be minimal, at least in the short term. It will only be once they are made available to buy on a wide scale that the real benefits will be felt.

Because these vans have a plug-in hybrid system, they can be powered up by using a mains supply, avoiding the need for specialist equipment. And with the promise of generating no emissions whatsoever when travelling on city streets, the advantages should be obvious.

The addition of an engine enables them to be more practical on longer trips, so it seems likely that this set-up will become more common across all vans in the near future, especially if this trial yields positive results for Ford.

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