Ford Range-Extended Transit Van Gets Revealed: 30+ Miles/50 km range

3 months ago by Mark Kane 24

Ford Transit Custom PHEV

Ford has presented its new plug-in hybrid van – the Transit Custom PHEV, at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2017 event in Millbrook, UK.

Ford Transit Custom PHEV

Some 20 of these are just now heading out to be test under a 12-month trial, prior to Ford beginning series production in 2019.

The prototypes are equipped with a EcoBoost 1.0-litre petrol engine as a range extender, and a lithium battery good for “exceeding” 50 km (31 miles) of all-electric range, which should make it an ideal in-town commercial offering – with the ability to still hit the road.

The total range is noted at more than 500 kilometres (310 miles).

“The vehicle makes its first appearance as Ford prepares 20 PHEV Transits for the 12-month fleet customer trial in London that begins in late 2017, which will explore how the hybrid electric vans can contribute to cleaner air targets and enhanced productivity in city use – the toughest working environment for vehicles.

Scheduled for volume production in 2019 as part of Ford’s global promise to provide customers with affordable and capable electric vehicles, the Transit Custom PHEV has an advanced hybrid system that targets a zero-emission range exceeding 50 kilometres (31 miles), and features the multi-award winning Ford EcoBoost 1.0-litre petrol engine as a range extender. The EcoBoost engine charges the on-board batteries when longer trips are required between charging stops, providing operators with outstanding efficiency and flexibility.”

“Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, travelling a total distance of 8 million miles (13 million kilometres). Vans represent 75 per cent of peak freight traffic, with more than 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in Central London alone.”

Ford Transit Custom PHEV

As of press, 13 fleets have been confirmed for participation in the project so far (1 vehicle unless stated otherwise):

  • Addison Lee
  • Autoglass
  • British Gas
  • BSkyB
  • Clancy Plant
  • DPD
  • Heathrow Airport
  • Kier
  • Mears
  • Metropolitan Police (2 vehicles)
  • Morrison Utility Services
  • Speedy Services
  • Transport for London (3 vehicles)

Mark Harvey, Director, urban electrified van programme, Ford of Europe said:

“For more than 50 years businesses have relied on Ford Transits to get the job done, and we are determined to maintain that tradition as we move into the electric age. Seeing the PHEV Transits on the road is an exciting milestone, and we look forward to teaming up with our London partners and customers to explore how these vans can reduce emissions and operator costs in the city.”

Lilli Matson, Transport for London’s Director of Transport Strategy said:

“Cleaner vans, like those being used in this trial, will be vital in helping the freight and fleet sector to reduce the emissions and play its part in tackling the Capital’s air quality crisis. We are also using the data from the trial, which will be an invaluable resource for our LoCITY programme that encourages commercial businesses to use greener vehicles,”

Ford Transit Custom PHEV

More about the project:

Ford Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid

“The London fleet trial project is supported by Transport for London, and features a cross-section of city-based businesses,* including Metropolitan Police, that will integrate the vans into their day-to-day operations. To help understand how the benefits of electrified vehicles could be maximised, the 20 PHEV Transits will use an advanced telematics system to collect real-time data on the vans’ performance.

In addition, the vehicles will feature geofencing technology, which is capable of automatically modifying vehicle settings based on each van’s current location. This could be used, for example, to ensure the hybrid system is switched to electric-only mode when a vehicle enters a low-emission zone within an inner-city area.

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, while the compact and fuel-efficient EcoBoost engine generates additional charge for the batteries when required. The Transit Custom PHEV uses a series-hybrid driveline configuration, with the vehicle’s wheels driven exclusively by an electric motor, rather than by the combustion engine.

The battery pack is a compact liquid-cooled lithium-ion design located under the load floor, preserving the full cargo volume offered by the standard Transit Custom van.

The PHEV approach provides city-based commercial vehicle operators with a range of benefits. In addition to the zero-emission capability exceeding 50 kilometres, the Transit Custom PHEV uses petrol fuel for a target total range of more than 500 kilometres (310 miles) to eliminate range anxiety. The PHEV also has an increased payload capacity compared to battery-only electric vehicles, and the ability to offer quick and easy recharging from a standard electricity supply.

Development of the 20 Transit Custom fleet trial vehicles has been supported by a £4.7 million grant from the U.K. Government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre. The vans are being designed and engineered at Ford’s Dunton, U.K., technical centre, and at Prodrive Advanced Technology in Banbury, U.K., with programme support from Revolve Technologies.

Ford was Europe’s No.1 selling commercial vehicle brand in 2015 and 2016, and this year has strengthened its position with a 13.3 per cent share in July year-to-date. The Transit Custom PHEV van is part of Ford’s global electrification commitment. The automaker and mobility company has invested $4.5 billion to make electric vehicles that offer customers more capability, productivity and performance. Ford plans to introduce 13 new electrified vehicles globally in the next five years, including an all-electric small SUV to be sold in Europe, North America and Asia.

Ford also recently announced an ambitious China electrification strategy and confirmed that 70 per cent of all Ford vehicles sold in China will have electrified powertrain options by 2025. In August Ford signed a Memorandum of Understanding with nhui Zotye Automobile Co., Ltd., a major manufacturer of zero-emission all-electric vehicles in China, to explore the launch of a new line of all-electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market.

In addition, Ford is undertaking a joint project with Deutsche Post DHL Group to produce electric delivery vans (e-vans), becoming Europe’s largest manufacturer of medium-sized e-vans with 2,500 vehicles built by the end of 2018. The StreetScooter WORK XL is based on a Ford Transit chassis fitted with a battery-electric drivetrain and a body designed and built to Deutsche Post DHL specifications.”

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24 responses to "Ford Range-Extended Transit Van Gets Revealed: 30+ Miles/50 km range"

  1. cr08 says:

    Wow. EREV Series hybrid with a liquid cooled battery. Really hoping this is a positive sign of new hybrid tech they’ll be bringing to other models. Especially the liquid cooled battery. So many problems with the current Fusion and C-Max PHEV’s with significant battery degradation due to poor thermal management which is just forced air.

    1. georges says:

      Yeh it’s a series setup with a tiny 1 liter engine. Way to go Ford!!

      1. L'amata says:

        Ford has a real Breakthrough here!!30 miles of Range W0W !! Unheard of, Never before …r o t f l m a o…..Incredible feat ! They’re really out doing themselves…….. l o l..

        1. georgeS says:

          @Lamata,

          Yes a bit shy on range but it is unique that it is pure series. They just need a bigger battery.

        2. cr08 says:

          Range could be improved, yes. Though I’d wager it is probably taking an average payload into account too. Hard to say based on the limited detailed specs covered here. It’d be nicer to see what the KWH capacity is more than anything.

          My biggest takeaways were finally using a proper active thermal management system that every other BEV/HEV/PHEV has been using some form of already. Their existing forced air only system has already proven to allow batteries to degrade significantly in warmer climates.

          And the EREV/Series hybrid is a nice bonus that could potentially see effiency improvements and admittedly starts aligning a little with GM’s Voltec powertrain.

          1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

            Well, Nissan has had success in Japan with its Note e-POWER serial hybrid, which has helped bump the Note sales by about 30%, pushing it ahead of the Prius. They’re considering expanding sales to other markets.

            It’ll be good sign if we start seeing other companies focus on serial-hybrid powertrains.

        3. John Doe says:

          100km range, and make a 9 seater version as well. Then we’re talking.
          The total range with batteries and gas should be at least 1000km.
          I’ve never owned a van with less then 1200km range. The VW Caravelle with the medium cruice tank had about 1600km range. That was usually more then I needed.

  2. Sean says:

    In the UK and Ireland this will sell in massive quantities if the price is not too much in excess of the regular transit van.

  3. Kevin C says:

    This work van can’t make it to the US fast enough, so I hope this trial exceeds expectations. Would love to replace my aging Chevy Astro van with something like this😀!

  4. Ocean Railroader says:

    If I drove this van in Iceland I would save eight dollars a gallon if I drove it 30 miles on battery power.

  5. spinit says:

    If you had this but doubled the battery, recharged over lunch or when you were loading or unloading or carrying out a job for 20-30 minutes I can’t see them using much fuel. It comes back to convenient and ubiquitous charging infrastructure.

  6. Tummy says:

    I can’t wait until this is used in a Class B camper.

    1. JK says:

      Exactly what I am looking forward to, a class B camper with a decent sized battery pack about the size of a Volt pack.

  7. Get Real says:

    You mean that Ford is actually capable of making a decent modern EREV?

    I think the moral of the story here is that the laggard OEMs like Ford are capable, but are really slow-walking the transition to PEVs to protect the ICE profits.

    The conclusion I draw is they need to be forced to electrify by both market pressures like Tesla is bringing and Government mandates like CA Carb is doing.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Ford has a track-record of projects and trials with PEV vans. It’s serious production that’s the problem.

  8. Kimmo57 says:

    Great! By that time it’s about time to change the company van. A bigger battery wouldn’t hurt, but I’d settle for that, too.

  9. Scoops says:

    Please bring this to the US! No doubt would I prefer a BEV van for my business but PHEV is great too. Seems like it would make a great Reefer van w/ electrically driven compressor.

  10. unlucky says:

    Does this have a future? My understanding is that the emissions on the tiny gas engines (like this 1.0L) are so bad in real world (i.e. when not cheating) that companies are abandoning them. No way would countries that are trying to drive down emissions reward car companies which would put in a filthy range extender. Well, if they did it wouldn’t be the first nonsensical thing European regulations promoted.

    But still, I think we’re past that.

    Maybe the tiny gas engines are okay on emissions when run strictly in the limited rev ranges and loads you see with range extenders?

    1. fotomoto says:

      If the 1.0L ecoboost is the same 3 cylinder used in the Fiesta, I wouldn’t see why it would have emissions issues. Series engines can be programmed to run at their best, most optimum settings while charging the batt’s.

      1. unlucky says:

        The engine has emissions issues in real world testing.

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/10/automakers-hit-bottom-engine-displacement-may-forced-upsize/

        ‘The company’s Equa Air Quality Index rates the 1.0-liter Focus an “E” on its “A” to “H” air quality scale.’

        If this problem didn’t apply to the smallest engine on the market, which did you think it applied to?

        1. fotomoto says:

          Series (generator) engines can be optimized to run at best efficiency (fuel and emissions). Since it’s not providing torque, it could also be easily switched to more emissions friendly atkinson cycle instead of otto.

  11. Dave86 says:

    Pure series with a tiny 1 liter engine… so are they assuming that energy to accelerate the vehicle will come from the battery in all cases?

    Nice to see Ford develope a product like this, although more AER would have nice.

  12. BenG says:

    Looks like a decent design, though it could be better if they started with a clean sheet of paper and put a bigger battery in the floor.

    But this would be a good option: go ahead and put it on the road already!

  13. SJC says:

    One of the best ideas I have seen lately. They will test it for a year to make sure everything works as planned…smart!

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