Twenty test vehicles will be launched in UK's capital this autumn.

Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, travelling a total distance of 8 million miles. Or at least that's what Ford says. Also, vans in the city represent 75 percent of peak freight traffic, with over 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in Central London alone. One can only imagine the amount of harmful gases all these vehicles emit every day.

That’s why Ford is joining forces with London to launch a test fleet of 20 plug-in hybrid Transit Custom vehicles. In partnership with UK’s Transport for London and the local Department for Transport, the Blue oval will explore “how such vans can contribute to cleaner air while boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions.”

“This exciting project in London shows how innovative technology can help improve the prosperity and quality of life in our congested cities,” Jim Farley, chairman and CEO at Ford of Europe, commented. “Ford is the top selling commercial vehicle brand in Europe, so it’s fitting that this Transit plug-in hybrid is leading the electric vehicle revolution for business users.”

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The test fleet will hit the rods in Great Britain in autumn this year and will likely be followed by similar projects in other big European cities. Ford claims it is the first volume automaker to offer PHEV technology in this class and will use telematics system to collect data on the vehicles’ financial, operational, and environmental performance to “help understand how the benefits of electrified vehicles can be maximized.”

Ford Transit Custom PHEV
Ford Transit Custom PHEV

“The freight sector’s transition to ultra-low emission vehicles is central to cleaning up London’s toxic air,” Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said. “Transport for London continues to lead by example by increasing the number of its own vehicles that are electric and will find the data from these trials an invaluable resource for the LoCITY programme, which encourages the uptake of low emission commercial transport.”

The Transit Custom PHEV will be launched commercially in 2019 as part of Ford’s $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020. By the end of the decade we will get to see hybrid versions of the Mustang and F-150, and a total of 13 electrified vehicles.

Source: Ford

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