Ford will introduce a geofencing module for the Tourneo Custom PHEV and Transit Custom PHEV as standard equipment in autumn this year. The plug-in hybrids will then automatically switch to pure electric drive in urban low emission zones, for example.
Also starting this autumn, Ford says that already produced plug-in hybrid vehicles of both series can be retrofitted with the Geofencing module. “Technology being introduced by Ford aims to promote cleaner air where it is needed most by ensuring its new breed of plug-in hybrid commercial vehicles operate in zero-emission electric-only drive mode in sensitive areas,” the US-American automaker says.
Ford has only announced this feature for the two vans Turneo Custom and Transit Custom, but not for car models such as the SUV Kuga and Explorer, which are also available as PHEVs. For passenger cars, BMW also offers geofencing functions for its plug-in hybrid with eDrive Zones, and Fiat-Chrysler is currently testing a similar function in Turin.
The introduction of the geofencing module at Ford was preceded by several fleet tests, for example in Cologne, Valencia or London. In the British capital, 75 per cent of all inner-city trips were purely electric, he said. These fleet tests also introduced new functions, such as the ability of dynamic geofencing to adapt to changing conditions in real-time – for example, when access restrictions are relaxed or tightened due to weather or air pollution. According to Ford, individually defined “green zones” are also possible, for example near schools or playgrounds.
“Improving the quality of air – and quality of life – in our towns and cities is a goal that we all have a responsibility to drive towards,” says Mark Harvey, Director, Commercial Vehicle Mobility, Ford of Europe. “The Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid and its new geofencing feature helps our customers to make a real contribution to that goal without compromising on efficiency or productivity.”
The two delivery van models feature a serial plug-in hybrid, so the 1.0-litre combustion engine does not drive the wheels, but only serves as a range extender. Propulsion is provided by the electric motor, which, in combination with the 13.6 kWh battery, is designed to achieve an electric range of up to 53 kilometres. As soon as the van leaves the geofencing zone (defined by the city or the user), the combustion engine starts to generate electricity depending on the charge level.