Ford has begun testing of its new Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid with Transport for London, working with the UK city’s local transit authority to pilot 20 of the new vehicles in use during a 12-month trial with select London businesses for commercial use. The pilot of the vehicles, which feature a pure electric range of around 31 miles according to European agency measurement standards, is designed to pave the way for broad production and sales in Europe beginning in 2019.
The Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) version of the Transit is one of 13 total new electric or hybrid vehicles that Ford will introduce globally over the course of the five years, including a hybrid Mustang, F-150 and other cars to be announced later. The 20 PHEV Transit vehicles in this pilot are expected to be able to cover the majority of their daily use on their electric motors, Ford says, since their internal city routes to deliver goods or answer service calls shouldn’t typically exceed that capacity.
Development of Ford’s test fleet for the London trial is supported by a £4.7 million ($5.8 million U.S.) grant from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre, a government-funded research facility that was created in 2013 in partnership with industry to advance low emission alternatives to fuel-burning engines. London has also committed to creating an “Ultra Low Emission Zone” in the city core by 2020, which will incur a fee on any vehicles that exceed tight carbon output standards.