Using live location data, the Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid Electric (PHEV) automatically switches to electric drive mode whenever entering predefined areas such as congestion and low emission zones. The vehicle will engage its electric drive mode when entering a geofence zone only if there is sufficient charge in the battery.
The geofencing tech need not only apply to city centres: vehicle operators can also create ‘green zones’ to encourage low-emission driving near schools, playgrounds and warehouses.When the vehicle leaves a controlled zone, it automatically switches to the most appropriate drive mode for the next leg of the journey.
Low-emission zones are increasingly common across Europe as a way for cities to better manage the environmental impact of vehicles in urban areas. In the first six months of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – one of the most harmful pollutants from vehicles – were found to have been reduced by almost 30%.
A recent study by Ford concluded that hybrid-electric vehicles could help improve urban air quality: 75% of miles driven in central London by study participants – which included operators Addison Lee Group, British Gas, Heathrow Airport, the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London – were completed in the Transits’ electric-only mode.
The geofence module in the Transit PHEV records information about electric-only operation within geofenced areas, referring to a virtual fence or perimeter around a physical location. The encrypted data can be shared with authorities to confirm compliance with low-emission zone regulations, avoiding the risk of wrongful fines and penalties.
The Transit Custom PHEV van and Tourneo Custom PHEV people mover are the first vehicles in their class to offer a hybrid-electric option. A 13.6 kWh battery helps to deliver a zero-emission NEDC driving range of up to 35 miles for the Transit Custom PHEV, and up to 33 miles in the Tourneo Custom PHEV. In both vehicles, the onboard 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine can charge the battery on-demand to extend their range up to 343 and 317 miles combined respectively.
Both vehicles charge fully from a standard 240-Volt 10-Amp mains supply in 4 hours 20 minutes, or in 2 hours 45 minutes using a commercial type-2 16-Amp AC charger. Further electrical energy is captured through regenerative braking when the vehicle decelerates or brakes.
Trials by Ford across Europe have shown how PHEVs offer a practical every-day solution for van owners and businesses working in the city, enabling them to complete longer journeys when required. There is no reduction in payload or load volume compared with a conventional diesel model.
The first electrified Transit in Custom PHEV went on sale this year. Since gaining Plug-in Van Grant eligibility in the spring, more than 500 orders have so far been received for the hybrid. Ford’s electrification of its entire vehicle range includes existing mild-hybrid two-tonne Transit and Transit Custom powertrain choices, as well as the announcement of an all-electric Transit BEV.