Ford Reveal Details On New Plug-In Hybrid Transit Van

SEP 10 2018 BY MARK KANE 34

Ford Transit Custom will be electrified.

Ford announced that its next-generation family of Transit products will be designed with built-in connectivity and advanced electrification in mind. The vehicles will be shown at the IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hannover, Germany, from September 20-27, 2018.

The main point of interest for us is the new Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in final production form. Market launch in Europe is scheduled for 2019, following ongoing trials in UK and Spain.

The brief specifications of the Ford Transit Custom PHEV are:

  • up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) of all-electric range
  • series-hybrid driveline configuration with 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine as a range extender
  • total range of more than 500 kilometres (310 miles)
  • liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack located under the load floor
  • full cargo volume offered by the standard van

More about the PHEV:

Ford Transit Custom PHEV

“Ford’s innovative Transit Custom PHEV has an advanced hybrid system that targets a zero-emission range of up to 50 kilometres (31 miles), and features the multi-award winning 1.0litre EcoBoost 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, and a total range of more than 500 kilometres (310 miles).Displayed in final production form in Hannover, the PHEV has a compact liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack located under the load floor, preserving the full cargo volume offered by the standard van. The vehicle features the all-new interior design from the latest Transit Custom, including dedicated information displays for the PHEV variant.”

The new interior and Ford Telematics and Ford Data Services feature for fleets will be unique too:

Ford Transit Custom PHEV

“Ford is announcing two new connected vehicle fleet solutions at Hannover, developed in-house by Ford Smart Mobility. These products have been created through a combination of powerful insights gathered from fleets of all sizes across many industries, and Ford’s in-depth knowledge and expertise of its vehicles and vehicle data.

Ford Telematics will provide fleet operators with a web-based application providing solutions to help fleet professionals improve vehicle utilisation, maximise vehicle availability, optimise running cost and manage their drivers. Separately, Ford Data Services will enable fleet operators to have the option of working with their own third-party service providers to access OEM-grade vehicle data – delivered directly from the vehicle to the “cloud” – to create their own bespoke fleet solutions.”

Ford Transit is going to be electrified also through a segment-first 48-volt mild hybrid (mHEV) system with a lithium-ion battery, available from mid-2019.

“The new 2-tonne Ford Transit will deliver more fuel efficient engines, increased payload, built-in connectivity and advanced driver technologies when it launches in mid-2019, along with a smart new front-end design and an all-new interior with enhanced stowage space.

In addition to upgraded 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines providing reduced cost of ownership, new Transit customers will be able to specify 48-volt mHEV technology on manual transmission vehicles to further improve fuel efficiency, particularly in stop-start urban driving. The mHEV system captures energy on deceleration in a 48-volt lithium-ion battery, and uses the stored energy to help drive the engine and electrical ancillaries.”

Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe said:

“Hannover will mark the arrival of an exciting new family of Transit commercial vehicles that are ‘born connected. Advanced connectivity, and our game-changing electrified vehicles, will create extensive new opportunities to create value for our customers.”

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34 Comments on "Ford Reveal Details On New Plug-In Hybrid Transit Van"

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31 miles is rediculous. There should be plenty of room for larger batteries. Just Dumb.

There could be many reasons, but one may well be that batteries increase the weight of a vehicle. For something like a Transit where load capacity is important, the more the vehicle weights the less the vehicle can transport. The maximum gross weight of a vehicle is important for licencing requirements so you can’t just increase it without penalty. As an example, in the UK (a large market for Transits) someone with a normal driving licence can drive something that weighs up to 3,500kg (Maximum authorized Mass or MAM – vehicle and cargo – which is the same as GVWR in North America). Currently most Transits already have a MAM of 3,500kg so if it is increased any more most people with a driving licence won’t be able to drive them without first taking a supplementary test. In the UK there are also restrictions on what is considered a commercial vehicle (and tax implications), one of them is the ability to carry > 1,000kg in cargo. Increased vehicle mass results in reduced vehicle capacity. If you add 50 miles of battery, weighting 200kg, then that means you’ll reduce the cargo you can carry by 200kg. See this link below as… Read more »
The Ford Transit Custom was available for testing in Lommel in Belgium this August, at their huge test facility. Ian Porter (Fords chief engineer) talked about the vehicle, and choises they made. The battery is a 14kWh battery taken from another vehicle and use Samsung cells, and weighs 110kg. The weight of the battery does not add significant weight to the vehicle since it use a tiny 1 liter EcoBoost gasoline engine, that is smaller then the regular diesel engine this vehicle is usually fitted with. There is no need for AdBlue tank either. The fuel tank is smaller as well. It offers 2 types of charging. 240V at 10A = 5 hours to charge. 240V at 16 or 32A which takes about 3 hours. No fast(er) charging available. Bosche has made a lof of the EV hardware. The 50km NEDC range was said to be about 40km realistic, according to the engineer. It will not come with a hitch, since Ford says it is designed for urban use only. The test vehicle had a 50kW motor, but they said it will be significantly stronger in the production version. Battery will remain the same though. When you start up the… Read more »

It sucks if it’s not allowed to have a hitch. That’s a deal breaker for me.

So it sounds like the overall drivetrain weight remains about the same? If so that means a bigger battery will eat into the payload.

You mean unlimited range, but most of your driving on electric.

You need 20kwhr for 30 miles in such a large vehicle (plus you want to keep a good amount of charge to optimize your hybrid mode).

Hybrid vehicle tech is pretty much obsolete. Kudos for Ford for the effort but this is pretty much pointless.

Correction 48v alternator based hybrid is obsolete.

No it is really just getting going; it will become widespread as a standard feature on many cars and light trucks.

No. It is really just the powdered milk of hybrid. The manufacturers cheap hopes, and marketing blitz, is too late to fool enough people.

“mHEV” too funny. Like pENIS. Why not step up, to a used Prius?

Hybrid is far from obsolete.

Why would it be obsolete? The pure ICE, I anticipate, will be gone for good soon, but some EV’s will have a range extender option.

And WHY is this not in the Energi platform? Sigh.

A series hybrid with “up to 50 km” of range? I’ll bet that number is NEDC too. That means that this van is going to spend most of its time with the range extender running, which will be terrible for fuel economy. That little 1 litre engine is going to have to run full throttle to move a van that size, and it’ll drink accordingly. I’m all for series configurations with small range extenders (the i3 is a great drivetrain in an unfortunate car), but the battery needs to cover at least 80% of trips and it had better be able to be fast charged! But I’m expecting to be disappointed by the Transit. Even just for a plumber or delivery driver driving around town, 50 km is nowhere near enough. Especially in the winter.

It’s too bad. This could have been an awesome camper…

From the Ford Europe website:
“Ford’s new Transit Custom one-tonne commercial vehicle, delivers bold new design, an all-new interior and enhanced productivity to European businesses.”

This is meant to be van for local deliveries, contractors, installers, etc who don’t drive much per day.
The specs seem wholly appropriate for the target market segment.

You’ll have to wait for the BEV VW Microbus – that should make a good camper. Cue Westfallia…

I guess you are right. I was thinking delivery van which would not work for this vehicle.

I worked a lot in a good sized city in Switzerland (Basel). As Ford says, contractors normally drive 25-50 kilometers a day since everything is relatively close together. Gas is so much more expensive compared to the US, so this type of vehicle is nearly ideal for that use. In the US, contractors travel much farther because the jobs and supply stores/warehouses are farther apart. This vehicle does not makes sense here. However, if Tesla is successful in building a pickup that rivals the F-150, Ford could be in deep trouble.

Any electric truck Tesla builds will stomp the F-150. It’s inherent in the physics and the determination of the company to build such a monster. I mean low end torque alone will have it dragging the F-150, or any other truck around now, like a rag doll.
Just a matter of when, which could bel 2021, at the earliest.

*IF* Tesla even produces a pick-up, it won’t be out till 2022 at the very earliest. And, no way a Ford buyer will consider an electric Tesla P/U. It will be just a very expensive niche product with no loyal following. However, The Model 3 is a nice vehicle, too bad its a sedan and everyone is switching to SUV’s. Will be nice if Tesla can eventually get the Model Y into production? 2021?

Also worth remembering that Ford will have their own PHEV truck in 2021 and GM/Chevy and RAM will almost certainly have PHEV options as well by that point.

So it’ll beat it in a drag race (not that trucks are slow now – most F150s are in the 5.5-6.5s 0-60 range. How much will it be able to tow, and for how far? What is the max payload? What’s the range of the vehicle? What bed size is available – a proper 6.5 or larger bed, or 5.5 or smaller? What will it cost? Five questions way up the list of things I’m personally more interested in than raw power/acceleration, and I’m not alone. Tesla have two options – they make an expensive halo truck that’s bought by the rich as status symbols, OR they make something that actually makes sense to most Pickup buyers – they then have weight and range requirements that need meeting. Currently the closest vehicle they have in their stable is the Model X 100D, which weighs more than the F150 but has the same torque as the 2.7 Ecoboost. The 5.0 and 3.5 Ecoboost sit between that and the P100D. Essentially their starting point is going to have to be the P100D, which is going to have to be made a few feet longer, and possibly a bit wider. They’re going to… Read more »
Starting point could be the P100D, then you strip out the motors, and put in the same triple-motor Model-3-derived setup that the Roadster will use. That gets you more torque and actually weighs less than the Model X P100D motor. Then you strip out the 100kWh battery. Put in the 200kWh battery that the Roadster uses, based on 21700 cells. Those cells have about 25% higher energy-density than the 18650 cells that the Model X uses now AND you don’t need two packs worth of structural mass, so you get an extra 15% pack energy density just because the bottom pack doesn’t need a top plate, and the top pack doesn’t need a bottom plate. So, you end up with a 200kWh pack that probably only weighs 40% more than the existing P100D pack. Also, the added weight of the bed is not really that much when you consider that the will remove 3 seats compared to the normal Model X, then they will be removing the rear roof(and removing most of that glass, which is really heavy). In fact, removing the rear roof and seats and other interior parts will probably save about 350kg. So, a truck bed is… Read more »
A few issues there. The F150 is already aluminium bodied. In fact outside the drivetrain and chassis there is very little steel on it – GM’s (optional) carbon bed is a direct result of their claims against Aluminium when the F150 first came out and doesn’t really do much to the weight compared to Aluminium. The actual bed weight isn’t really an issue, you’ll also have to add an extra few feet of unibody chassis to get the length to fit two rows and a bed (the X is actually quite a lot smaller than a full size truck. You’re taking away the roof but adding more material overall. Also something not considered last time, you’re likely to need to beef up various no drivetrain and body parts to – suspension, arms, steering – as presumably the truck will want to have similar off road capabilities as the current full size trucks too. If you’re building a regular cab then sure, get rid of the three back seats, but most pickups sold now have 5 (or 6, with the front bench) seats, so generally they need to stay, especially if selling an expensive vehicle. The moonroof should stay as an… Read more »

Actually engines, especially gasoline spark ignition turbos with relatively low nominal compression, which I am guessing this is, are most efficient when operating at high load because that makes for a high effective compression ratio.

The tiny engine does not drive the car mechanically – it just charges the battery used by the electric motor.
It will need to run at bit for sure, but depends on how the car is used. Ford says this is a car for inner city use, with low distance driving. They will not have to pay congestion charges in London for example. .
The numbers are NEDC too, and you can expect about 40km (in summer). It has been only on two weeks testing in Finland for cold weather situations, and cold range is not disclosed.
Would have been useful for more people with a 100km real world range. I guess they want to keep the price and weight as low as possible.

The i3 is a great car with an okay Rex, it would be better if it had parallel/series eCVT so the engine could have more power than just generator and provide more power to move car (problem is engine is only 34 hp in i3, same engine in scooter is maybe 50 or 60, but electric generator is only around 20 kW so it can’t use more than the 34 hp).

This fleet car will have a huge positive impact on fuel usage and eliminate range anxiety. Yes, a 100kWh battery would be better for eliminating gas usage, but way more expensive. It would still be fairly range limited too.

This is a good start, maybe not a long term solution, but will reduce gas usage immediately.

Believe when you see it

This will be for sale in 2019, as one of 40 vehicles Ford will spend 11 billion dollars to electrify, by 2022.

How about the USA?

But I agree, hybrids bare obsolete. Full EVs are the way to go

48V is the joke, here. Hybrid isn’t that bad, if an all-electric section is being bailed out by a range extender. Fleet users will always look to use the electric side first, and save money. If 16KWh can give the Volt its shove, maybe 20-40 in the transit can lower net battery costs from the 100+ that might be required to keep it out local, all day as a pure EV.

That’s how I, the possible fleet customer, might want to look at it.

Ford is a heap of trouble. They are making baby steps when they need to be making giant strides.
They are so far behind. They say they are probably going to lay-off 25k people in the next few years.
Eco blue diesel, are you kidding me?
Little wonder the stock is at a nine year low. Of course it has not been all that high In quite a while.

Actually makes sense for a niche product in Europe where gas prices are very high and fleet operator doesn’t need to go that far. Ford sold over 350k transits in Europe last year. They are on pace to beat that in 2018.

I like the Pacifica but I gravitate to the utility of a Transit for hauling my oversized fam. I can’t help but think there’s more room inside its boxiness. Of course, either way, I’m not interested without a plugin electric power system, and now they both have one!