Ford shows PHEV LCVs the best current option

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vans are the way forward according to Ford, which has just completed a year-long trial of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in London. In the view of the company these are the most practical, readily available solutions for companies looking to meet clean air commitments.

The Ford pilot assessed the performance of 20 Transit PHEVs that covered 150,000 miles. The trial showed 75% of the mileage in Central London and 49% in Greater London was on pure electric power. One of the major reasons is that they didn’t need the electrical infrastructure and the range extending generators enabled them to do longer journeys.

Participants in the Ford PHEV trial include Addison Lee Group, Autoglass, British Gas, Clancy Plant, DPD, Heathrow Airport, Interserve, Mears Group, the Metropolitan Police, Morrison Utility Services, RNLI, Royal Mail, Speedy Hire, Sky, Transport for London and Vodafone.

Mark Harvey, director of Ford’s Urban Electrified Van programme, said: “This trial is the first time Ford has given such early prototype vehicles to customers, and we’ve been able to incorporate their feedback directly into the production van. The response has been overwhelmingly positive – operators don’t want to give them back.”

The new Transit Custom PHEV production models that will go on sale at the end of the year target a zero-emission driving range of 50 kilometres (31 miles), and use a 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine as a range extender for total range exceeding 500 kilometres (310 miles), thus eliminating range anxiety. A compact battery pack located under the vehicle floor can be conveniently charged using a standard 230-volt supply, and is designed so that the interior space and load capacity of the vehicle is not compromised.

Ford has also set out plans for an all-electric Transit to join the company’s European line-up of electrified commercial vehicles in 2021.

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