The Transit Custom PHEV features an advanced hybrid powertrain system that targets a zero-emission driving range of 50 kilometres (31 miles), and uses the multi-award-winning Ford 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine as a range extender for total range exceeding 500 kilometres (310 miles).
Ford is the first volume manufacturer to offer PHEV technology in this segment of the van market. The technology enables the vehicle to be charged with mains electricity for zero-emission journeys, contributing to reduced local emissions and allowing the vehicle to enter low-emissions zones. The PHEV model will enter volume production in the second half of 2019.
“The Transit Custom PHEV re-writes the rule book for a general purpose 1-tonne van, providing a versatile performer with zero-emission capability,” said Ian Porter, chief programme engineer, Transit Custom, Ford of Europe. “Transit Custom PHEV demands no compromises, offering the same load capacity as a diesel van, and the freedom to complete long-distance journeys without the need to stop for a charge.”
Ford also announced major enhancements to the Transit Custom line-up, including an upgraded 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel with more powerful 185 PS variant, a segment-first diesel mild hybrid powertrain option, and advanced new connectivity and driver assistance features.
Zero emissions. Zero range anxiety
The Transit Custom PHEV provides operators with outstanding fuel and energy efficiency, and outstanding flexibility. The advanced hybrid-electric powertrain system is perfectly suited to scenarios from multi-stop delivery schedules to longer commutes between construction sites.
The vehicle uses a series-hybrid driveline configuration, the front wheels being driven exclusively by an electric motor, rather than by the combustion engine. Power for the motor is provided by a compact 14 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack located under the load floor, which has been carefully positioned to preserve the full cargo volume offered by the standard Transit Custom van, and a payload exceeding 1,000 kg. Ford’s compact and fuel-efficient 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine generates additional charge for the batteries when required.
Tested in the real world
Ford Transit Custom PHEV prototypes are undergoing a 12-month fleet trial with real-world customers in London, covering in excess of 50,000 km (31,000 miles) to date, and Ford recently announced further trials will begin in Valencia, Spain. The vans – equipped with telematics systems – gather data on operational and environmental performance, including charging patterns, journey patterns and real electric-only range, while in use by commercial fleets including delivery and construction companies, utilities and services such as the police.
The data collected is helping Ford to better understand how to optimise the benefits of the hybrid powertrain and explore how lower-emission plug-in hybrid electric vans could support cleaner air targets, while boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions.
The new Transit Custom PHEV van is a key component of Ford’s global electrification commitment, with an investment of $11 billion to create a portfolio of 40 electrified vehicles globally, including 16 fully electric vehicles through 2022.
Author: Robert Metzger