Ford introduces automatic electric mode

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Automotive manufacturer Ford is introducing geofencing technology that enables its latest plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) commercial vehicles to operate in zero-emission electric‑only drive mode in sensitive areas.

Using live location data, Ford’s Transit Custom PHEV vans will automatically switch to electric drive mode whenever they enter predefined areas such as congestion and low‑emission zones. What’s more, vehicle operators can create custom ‘green zones’ to encourage low-emission driving around locations such as schools, playgrounds and warehouses.

When the vehicle leaves a controlled zone it can automatically switch to the most appropriate drive mode to complete the next leg of the journey – for example, engaging the onboard EcoBoost petrol engine to generate electric power and extend the vehicle’s range.

A recent study by Ford concluded that hybrid-electric vehicles could help improve urban air quality: 75% of kilometres driven in Central London by study participants – which included operators Addison Lee Group, British Gas, the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London – were completed in the Transits’ zero-emission electric-only mode. Similar studies are now taking place in Cologne, Germany and Valencia, Spain.

The Geofence module in the Transit PHEV records information about electric-only operation within geofenced areas. According to Ford, the encrypted data could then be securely shared with local authorities to confirm compliance with low-emission zone regulations and vehicle charging schemes.

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