Three months since the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London, results of a year-long trial in the capital suggest that plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) commercial vehicles could present the most practical, readily available option for businesses trying to meet clean-air targets in cities.
The trial—supported by a £4.7-million (US$5.9-million) grant from the UK Government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre—consisted of 20 Ford Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid vans (earlier post) covering 240,000 km (150,000 miles) over a 12-month period. The vans are driven exclusively by the electric traction motor; a combustion engine serves as a range extender. Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid van estimated CO2 emissions are 75 g/km, with fuel-efficiency from 3.3 l/100km (71.2 mpg US).
The trial sought to test whether businesses could carry out the typical daily duties of their diesel-powered vehicles, while maximizing the use of zero-emissions electric-only mode. . . .
During the trial, 75% of the fleet’s mileage in Central London and 49% in Greater London was completed using pure electric power. The results highlight that even without a fully established electric vehicle charging network, the hybrid vans were able to reduce tailpipe emissions significantly in the inner city, using the flexibility of a gasoline range-extender to complete longer journeys when required.
Commercial vehicles in London together make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, traveling a total of 13 million km (8 million miles); this figure is rising. Vans represent 75% of peak freight traffic, with more than 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in Central London alone.
A similar picture can be found in other major European cities, driven partly by rapid growth in online retail. Consequently, tighter emissions controls are being introduced by authorities throughout the continent, increasing pressure on businesses to find sustainable, practical solutions. . . .
Ford has already incorporated learnings from the trial of prototype vehicles to optimize the Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid production model that will go on sale to customers at the end of 2019. Enhancements include increased motor performance, optimized operating strategies, and revised displays to educate drivers in achieving maximum electric regeneration.
Further trials in Cologne and Valencia will provide data from different markets, cities and customer types, and will involve a mix of Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid vans and new Tourneo Custom Plug-In Hybrid people-movers. These two models are the first vehicles in their classes to offer plug-in hybrid technology, and offer a standard eight-year battery warranty.
The new vehicles target a zero-emission driving range of 50 kilometers (31 miles), and use a 1.0-liter EcoBoost petrol engine as a range extender for total range exceeding 500 kilometers (310 miles). 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.
Four selectable EV modes allow the driver to choose when to use electric power stored in the battery and when to recharge the battery using the range extender to optimise use of both energy sources.
EV Charge. . . .
Ford recently announced that a new all-electric Ford Transit will join the company’s European line-up of electrified commercial vehicles in 2021. . . .