Ford Electric Vehicle Prototypes Plug In To Uk Government Low Carbon Vehicle Fleet

* Ford battery electric vehicle prototypes go into service as part of a new low carbon demonstration fleet

* Ford confirms capability for potential electric car and commercial vehicle models

* UK-based product development team leads Ford’s involvement

* Ford fleet welcomed by London Mayor

Ford Motor Company’s global commitment to the development of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) is reinforced with a British project including Ford demonstration models as part of the UK Government’s Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle fleet announced this week.

With support from Scottish and Southern Energy, a fleet of zero emissions prototype Ford Focus BEVs will be used by both the energy company and a number of evaluation drivers based in Hillingdon, Middlesex.

A consortium of Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy and Strathclyde University will provide the prototype vehicles and a charging infrastructure in and around Hillingdon from early 2010.  Ford of Europe is specially developing the prototype Focus BEVs to participate in the scheme and test the technology’s suitability for potential future application in Ford’s European passenger car range.

This new BEV demonstration fleet is being created 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:  “Battery electric vehicles represent an important step in Ford’s pursuit of  delivering more efficient and sustainable mobility solutions.  Ford is looking forward to working with its project partners on developing a viable market for electric vehicles both in the UK and Europe.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:  “I am absolutely thrilled that Ford and Scottish and Southern Energy have won funding to deliver innovative electric vehicles onto the capital’s streets.
“I want to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe and these trials will provide us with valuable information on what is needed to ensure they can become an everyday choice.”
Ford of Europe’s involvement with the fleet of electric Focus prototypes complements the development work already undertaken to showcase the Ford Tourneo Connect BEV Concept first revealed at this year’s Geneva motor show.

Project managed in the UK
Ford of Europe’s BEV programmes are being led by its 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.

The full BEV powertrain showcased in the Tourneo Connect Concept was developed in collaboration with Smith Electric Vehicles, the UK’s leading battery electric specialist converter of commercial vehicles.  Smith Electric Vehicles is part of a separate consortium that also has secured TSB funding to further develop the Tourneo Connect BEV Concept.

Smith Electric Vehicles already converts and offers the Ford Transit commercial vehicle to customers in the UK and Europe as the Smith Edison. Smith will also offer the Transit Connect van for sale in Europe as the Smith Ampere from 2010.

The Tourneo Connect BEV Concept shows how this technology can be applied to a passenger use people carrier.  In the US, Ford has confirmed that it will launch, with Smith Electric Vehicles the Transit Connect commercial vehicle as a full BEV in North America in 2010.

For the Tourneo Connect BEV Concept, latest level battery electric technology was chosen.  A 21kWh lithium ion phosphate battery pack accumulates the energy to drive a 50kW permanent magnet motor, while the drive torque is transmitted to the driveshafts by a single-speed transmission.  This set-up targets a range of up to 100 miles and a top speed of 80mph.
Recharging is easy:  the onboard battery charger can be plugged directly into a standard mains socket, and a full battery charge is accomplished in six to eight hours.

Prototype fleet
Further technical details of the UK zero-emission Ford Focus BEV evaluation fleet will be revealed later this year.

The vehicles will use prototype technology announced by Ford at the 2009 North American Auto Show in January and under development for introduction in North America in 2011.

“The development of this fleet is an ideal way to evaluate the potential for this technology in the UK and broader European markets,” said Greenwell.  “By gaining real world experience with a number of prototypes we can look at the practical and business potential for us to develop battery-electric cars for the European market.”

Editor’s note: The Mayor of London has been an active participant in the  Ford and Scottish and Southern Energy bid. The bids were required to show the support of a local government partner to be successful. The Mayor has developed ambitious plans to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe by pledging to deliver 25,000 charging points to form an integrated network across London by 2015; add 1,000 electric vehicles to the GLA fleet and guarantee to retain the congestion charge exemption.

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