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Earlier in January, Ford announced 13 new electrified vehicles to be included in its e-fleet in the next five years. Partially, this is coming true in London, where 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Ford Transit Custom vans that reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power are set to test drive around the city for a year. 

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Statistics show that commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 trips a day for a total of 8 million miles (13 million kilometers). Vans are said to make up 75 percent of peak commercial traffic there, while there are often more more than 7,000 vehicles an hour on the road, if you look at central London alone. Switching to environmentally friendly vehicles is therefore not only a sensible thing to do - it's also absolutely necessary.

Within the project, which is supported by local authorities and Transport for London as well as the U.K. government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre, Ford will study how exactly these alternative commercial vans contribute to cleaner air targets in London. If the vans are properly (timely) recharged, they can run solely on electricity, while the petrol engine is only used for longer trips outside the city.

The fleet trial is scheduled to launch in autumn this year. Globally, in the next five years, Ford's new electric line-up will include SUV with an estimated range of at least 300 miles, a high-volume autonomous hybrid vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing to debut in North America in 2021, and a hybrid version of the iconic Ford Mustang.

Jan. 24, 2017 Driving photo: Ford

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