Ford Testing Plug-In Transit Vans in London
Vans Targeted for 2019 Production Launch
Following up on Ford’s announcement at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show about its development and launch of 13 new electrified vehicles in the next five years, we now have more details about one of the specific projects: a plug-in Transit Custom initially targeted for the European market. London was selected as the trial market for testing due to the high volume of journeys of commercial vehicles, estimated at 280,000 a day and making up 75 percent of peak traffic. London, like many other urban centers across Europe, has regulations restricting or even fining use of internal combustion engines in certain areas.
Ford is working with Transport for London, the city’s transportation authority, and received £4.7 million (approximately $5.8 million U.S.) funding from the U.K.’s Advanced Propulsion Centre. Selected businesses will get a 12-month trial of 20 plug-in Transit Custom vans, designed to go around 30 miles on electric power, after which an efficient internal-combustion engine comes online to provide power. The prototype vans were developed and engineered at Ford’s technical center in Dunton, England, east of London.
A production version of the Transit Custom PHEV will be offered for sale in Europe starting in 2019. The Transit Custom is a front-wheel-drive variant of the Transit not currently sold in the U.S. market. Ford has not said whether the Transit Custom PHEV will be sold in North America.