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Ford Will Launch 12-month Pilot Program in London With its Hybrid Van

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【Summary】Ford recently announced a 12-month pilot program in London, to test its new Transit Custom Hybrid van that has a pure electric range of around 31 miles.

Original Claire    Feb 03, 2017 7:55 AM PT
Ford Will Launch 12-month Pilot Program in London With its Hybrid Van

We all know Ford is targeting the mass-production of next-generation cars by 2021, and is diving into the research and development of autonomous technology. But in terms of all-electric vehicles, the auto giant is still a bit conservative. It recently announced a 12-month pilot program in London, to test its new Transit Custom Hybrid van that has a pure electric range of around 31 miles. 

The trial program will be launched this fall, with 20 vehicles of the model on test-drive.The new vans will partner with Transport for London and other selected London businesses for commercial use. And during driving, the telematics system installed in car will enable Ford to collect useful data.  

"Ford believes plug-in hybrids are the right answer and I believe personally they're absolutely the right answer. What we feel is that this technology is actually more robust during this transition, this adoption of electrification."Graham Hoare, Ford's director of global vehicle evaluation said. 

The custom van is one of the 13 hybrid or electric vehicles that Ford plans to release in the next 5 years. It's a mid-size van that will not be sold in US. The others include a hybrid Mustang and F-150, an unreleased hybrid car for police use, and a compact cross-over electric vehicle. The pilot program is seen by many to pave the way for Ford's broad production and sales in Europe by 2019.

And the "more hybrid" strategy is in accordance with Ford's goal of making cars "high-volume".

"If you take these full-size battery-electric vehicles, they impact payload, they impact the volume – the cubic capacity that can be carried. Those are extreme critical parameters for commercial vehicle owners, so I think this technology provides that great blend of protection." Hoare added.

This project is supported with $4.7 million euros by the Advanced Propulsion Center, whose aim is to help relieve the carbon emission and air pollution in UK. The center was founded in 2013, and is a 1-billion-euro commitment between the government and the automotive industry. It helps connect the fund with industry leaders to push forward the marketization of eco-friendly cars. 

Commercial cars in total cover as much as 8 million miles on 280,000 journeys through London each day, which means 29 miles per journey. And seemingly the Transit Custom Van's 31-mile range is just sufficient for daily use in the metropolis. 

Earlier this month, Ford also said that the company will carry out hybrid taxi test-runs in New York and other US cities. It stressed that its previously discussed autonomous production car for 2021 will still be a hybrid.



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