As a result, Ford will deploy a versatile people carrier version of the Transit Connect for the UK demonstration programme, which is supported by Scottish and Southern Energy. This will see a fleet of zero emissions vehicles used by both the energy company and a number of drivers based in the London Borough of Hillingdon.
A consortium of Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy and the University of Strathclyde is providing theTransit Connect Electric 5-passenger vehicles and a charging infrastructure in and around Hillingdon during 2010 and 2011. By using production-intent powertrains and batteries Ford has been able to increase the demonstration fleet to 21 passenger vehicles from the original plan of 15.
This programme will test vehicle and infrastructure technology ahead of the Transit Connect Electric going on sale in 2011.
London residents will be among the first in Britain to experience Ford’s zero emissions technology. Experienced drivers will be selected to take part in the programme and they will go through a rigorous familiarisation and training programme to ensure that useful data can be produced under safe, realistic operating conditions.
The Transit Connect Electric demonstration fleet is being developed partly with public funding from the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which promotes innovative industry-led projects that reduce CO2 while benefitting the country’s transport system.
Joe Greenwell, Ford of Britain chairman, said: "There is increasing interest among our customers for electrified vehicles and we are responding by stepping up our efforts to bring these models to the marketplace alongside our latest-generation, fuel-efficient petrol and diesel powered models. Ford is looking forward to working with its project partners on developing this market for electric vehicles both in the UK and Europe."
The Ford Transit Connect Electric is a zero-emission, pure electric car version of the award-winning Transit Connect light commercial vehicle. It goes on sale in North America later this year and in Europe from 2011.
The Ford Transit Connect Electric features a state-of-the-art lithium ion battery pack with a capacity of 28kWh and a chassis-mounted 55kW electric traction induction motor. It will have a range of up to 80 miles and a top speed of up to 75mph. Fully charging the batteries will take under 10 hours using a household 230 volt electricity supply.
The demonstration programme is being led by the company’s UK research and development centre at Dunton in Essex. Home to an engineering team of almost 3,000 vehicle specialists, Dunton Technical Centre is responsible for developing powertrains for all Ford vehicles in Europe, as well as every part of the company’s commercial vehicle range.