The UK Government’s Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator programme will include 21 Ford Transit Connect EVs being tested by Scottish and Southern Energy in the London Borough of Hillingdon.
The vehicles, which offer zero emissions when driving, will be five-seat passenger vehicles featuring the Ford’s electric technology.
A charging infrastructure will be installed around the Hillingdon area to allow charging of the batteries in the electric powertrain and experienced drivers will be selected to take part in ‘rigorous’ testing.
The Transit Connect vans will have a range of 80 miles and a top speed of 75mph. The batteries will take 10 hours to charge via a normal 230 volt electric supply.
If the trial is successful, the 28kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor will be used in production model Transit Connects, due for release in 2011.
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 plans to follow the introduction of the Transit Connect Electric with a Ford Focus Electric in 2012 and a hybrid and plug-in-hybrid C-Max in 2013. Another as yet unannounced electric model is expected in 2013.
The electric and hybrid vehicles will complement the current low-CO2 EcoBoost Ford technology employed in its petrol engines and the diesel ECOnetic range.
Ford is currently selling hybrid models in the US and aims to have hybrid and electric vehicles making up 20 per cent of its line-up by 2020.