Driving Report: Ford Transit

Ford wants to take advantage of the plug-in hybrid for transit

Van under power

Ford has redesigned the transit and gives the engines a fuel-efficient 48-Volt mild hybrid system. The slightly smaller Transit Custom will have a plug in the future.

Since the 60er years of the last century, the term transit is firmly connected with Ford, now brings the seventh generation of transport classic passengers and cargo from A to B. The Ford has now given a discreet facelift, there are also revised engines and also Electrification is on the way. In the large, so-called two-tonne transit (starting from 28.450 euro net) however first only in the form of a 48-Volt-Hybrid-System, the somewhat smaller, renamed a few years ago in Transit and Tourneo Custom version with only one ton of payload drives against it also available as a plug-in hybrid.

As of spring 2020, both the Transit Custom baptized vans (from 47.995 Euro net / 60.420 Euro gross) and the passenger version Tourneo Custom with up to eight seats (from 58.000 Euro net / 71.900 Euro gross) are plug-in hybrids (PHEV) available. This Cologne are the pioneer in two ways: Currently, there is no other PHEV in the one-tonne class, also omitted Ford on a direct drive from the gasoline engine to the wheels: The one-liter turbo engine is used exclusively as a range extender, the Propulsion always takes place electrically. As long as the 13,6-kWh battery mounted below the vehicle floor is full, the 93 kW / 126 PS makes use of a powerful electric motor. He hits hard with his 355 Newtonmeter, but then he runs out of steam. The maximum achieves the PHEV 120 km / h.

However, the custom does not come close with the stored power, the WLTP range is just over 40 kilometers, then it has to be plugged in for a few hours. Or the gasoline engine crackling like a sewing machine jumps in and converts gas into electricity; Ford estimates its average fuel consumption to be between three and three and a half liters. In addition to a purely electric driving mode and the auto mode, which always turns on the burner when it makes sense, the PHEV transporter also offers the possibility to maintain the current battery level or even charge the battery while driving; The latter is not particularly efficient, but may be necessary in the future if certain environmental zones in cities are only allowed to be driven on electricity. In view of this, Ford also wants to offer a so-called geofencing module, which recognizes from the GPS data when the car enters a burn-in zone and automatically switches to electric mode.

There is also a bit of electrification for conventional diesel engines: to reduce fuel consumption, Ford offers optional 48 Volt mild hybridization for the front- and rear-drive Transit and Custom vehicles. For around 700 Euro (net) surcharge then keep a belt starter generator, which replaces the starter, and a small additional battery feeder. The system does not contribute any power as a booster, but actually serves only to save fuel: The energy generated by energy recovery supplies the electrical system, also works the stop-start function more efficient. On average, Ford speaks of three percent fuel savings, depending on the user profile - especially in city traffic - but up to eight percent under-consumption is possible. But even without the power support, the drives should be more economical: The three well-known two-liter diesel versions with 77 kW / 105 PS, 96 kW / 130 PS and 125 kW / 170 PS consume about seven percent less thanks to a comprehensive overhaul fuel.

New additions include an even more powerful self-ignition version with 135 kW / 185 PS and 415 Newton meters. The has with the van easy game and moves the transit so well with tidy payload that you should regularly call into the conscience that you sit not in a fleet car, but a high-build, not very dynamic delivery car - even if the transit since The facelift looks a bit brisk: A new grille, fresh headlights and a revised front apron provide a fresh touch, but are not a surprise. After all, the Transit Custom has already pioneered 2018, and even the big transit itself has already presented itself in this guise at the commercial vehicle IAA last year.

However, the developers emphasize that they have taken far more measures in the course of the model maintenance, than to draw just a little the eyeline. On the one hand, you have spruced up the interior with an eight-inch infotainment system and put new assistance systems such as lane keepers, blind spot warning systems and a parking assistant into transit. On the other hand, the engineers have made numerous adjustments to make the transit easier: The rear-wheel drive version has slimmed down by 80 kilograms; in the transits with front-wheel drive, 48 was still able to detect and ban excess kilograms. To achieve this, Ford is relying among other things on an aluminum bonnet, lighter wheels, a composite partition and a new rear axle in the rear-wheel drive vehicles.

The savings benefit the payload: Up to 1.418 kilograms, the variants are now allowed to move with 3,5 tons of permissible gross vehicle weight. On the model range itself nothing changes, as usual there is the transit in different lengths and heights, with front, rear or four-wheel drive, manual transmission or automatic and with the most diverse superstructures, from the van over a bus version up to the pure Chassis.

Ford Transit / Tourneo Custom PHEV - Specifications:

Panel van with loading area (Transit Custom) or up to eight seats (Tourneo Custom), length: 4,97 meters, width: 1,99 meters (width with exterior mirrors: 2,27 meters), height: 2,00 meters, wheelbase: 2,93 meters, payload: 1.130 (Transit) / 566 (Tourneo) kg

Transit / Tourneo Custom PHEV: electric motor; Power 93 kW / 126 PS, maximum torque: 355 Nm, front wheel drive, input gearbox, range extender: 1,0 three-cylinder turbo gasoline engine, battery: 13,6 kWh, 0-100 km / h: k. A., Vmax: 120 km / h, fuel consumption: 3,1 / 3,6 l / 100 km, CO2 emissions: 70 / 80 g / km, emission standard: k. A., efficiency class: k. A., Price: from 47.995 Euro net / 57.996 Euro gross (Transit Custom), 60.420 Euro net / 71.900 Euro gross (Tourneo Custom)

Ford Transit / Tourneo Custom PHEV - Short Characteristics:

Why: drives purely electric, relatively economical

Why not: Vmax at 120 km / h, low battery range

What else: no alternatives

When will he come: Spring 2020

Ford Transit PHEV - plug-in for commercial vehicles

There are already a few purely electric vans, but up to now no carmaker has trusted the plug-in drive for commercial vehicles. The socket outlet offers some advantages - which Ford now wants to use with the Transit Custom PHEV.

Electrification does not stop at commercial vehicles: for some time now, the large Renault Master and Iveco Daily panel vans have been roaming the city center, while Mercedes and VW have followed suit with their E-Sprinters and E-Crafter. However, it will be a while before Ford brings the Transit with battery-electric drive onto the market, and the start is not planned before 2021. In a class below that, i.e. in the Bulli segment, Ford will enter the electrical business in the coming spring. And it goes its own way: while Mercedes and Volkswagen are again starting with the all-electric E-Vito or the EQV passenger transporter and the electric-powered VW T6 bus, Ford is putting at least 47.995 euros (57.114 euros gross) on transit or tour Custom (from 60.420 euros net, 71.900 euros gross) on a plug-in hybrid. 

Compared to the exclusive battery operation, the double heart technology has a considerable advantage: range anxiety needs to have no one here. For longer tours is finally a one-liter turbo gasoline engine on board, which can provide the 93 kW / 126 PS strong electric motor with energy for 450 kilometers. Unlike plug-in hybrids usual, there is no direct connection between the combustion engine and wheels at Ford, the gasoline engine serves only as a range extender, which generates electricity through a generator. Ford could do without the classic gearbox, and turbochargers, an adjustable camshaft or an elaborate injection system would actually be superfluous. Finally, the gasoline engine, once optimally worked out, could always work with the best efficiency and thus even more economical. 

This step, however, sets Ford up for the next generation, currently the engine is used in quasi-standard condition and reacts to different energy requirements of the electric motor with more or less high speeds. On the other hand, apart from the growling sound, the fact that the burner interferes in the event is not noticeable - after all, it does not matter to the electric drive whether the power has just been freshly generated or stored in advance in the battery. Ford's consumption of gasoline is three to three and a half liters; If you switch to the driving mode, which maintains the charge status of the battery or even feeds in electricity, you must expect higher values.

The battery itself is quite small in the box van Transit Custom and the fully equipped passenger transporter Tourneo Custom, just 13,6 kilowatt-hours of energy slumber in the vehicle floor - that's enough in everyday life only for around 40 kilometers. Compared to the pure e-vans but has the advantage that the battery weighs little and hardly takes up space: loading space height and width and storage space and payload are on the level of diesel versions! And: A first field trial in London with 20 plug-in vehicles and kilometers traveled over 250.000 has shown that the short range is nevertheless often enough. 75 percent of the routes in the city, the Fords purely electric driven, takes you the entire London Greater to it, after all, it was just under 50 percent. The fact that the battery can only be charged to AC outlets in about three to four hours, should not be a problem for most users: Especially in craft shops, delivery services or shuttle operation, most cars are in the garage overnight anyway. Speaking of craftsmen: Ford also uses the power storage to offer in the hold conventional sockets, with which the batteries of drilling machine and Co. can be charged.

Particularly attractive for corporate customers could be the plug-in drive in cities with "low-emission" zones. In many places, electric cars are already driving to the city center for free, while a city toll is due for burners. Although the plug-in falls because of the presence of his gasoline per se not under the exemption. Ford is, however, in the process of negotiating special agreements with cities such as London: By evaluating the driving data of the plug-in transit, drivers or fleet operators should be able to prove how many days they were actually traveling on electric power in the city and when the gasoline engine started ; accordingly, it would subsequently be cashed. So that the customers do not accidentally go in the battery charging mode into the city center, Ford wants to offer a Geofencing solution: As soon as the car recognizes by GPS that it reaches the low-emission zone, it switches automatically into the pure electric Operation around. At the latest when this example makes school, other manufacturers will follow suit with plug-in models in the single-tonne transporter class: Finally, especially for fleet customers, the part-time electricity is much more attractive than a battery car for the city and a diesel for the further routes.   

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