The Ford Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid, was Ford’s first step into the electric CV market. As we await the arrival of the larger E-Transit, the Custom PHEV currently offers customers a compromise between diesel range & electric power. The good news is, that next-generation Transit Custom will come with pure-electric power when it goes on sale in 2023, but until then the Custom PHEV could be well worth a look.
What is it ?
The Transit Custom PHEV combines a 126hp electric motor with a 1.0 litre petrol engine. What’s clever about it, is that the petrol engine doesn’t drive the van. Rather like the LEVC VN5, it’s used to power the 13.6kWh battery & in turn, power the electric motor. This means that you get zero-emissions utilising the battery range, coupled with the reassurance of a 300-mile driving range. Maximum power is 120 PS.
Four electric vehicle modes ,allow users to choose how & when to use the PHEV’s available battery charge. EV Now is automatically selected when the engine is switched on and is perfect for urban and city driving. EV Later maintains the current level of charge, so you can save it for urban use. If the van has been fully mains charged, EV Later will also hold the battery range if its dropped to 75%. EV Auto determines how to use the energy sources in tandem, battery or petrol & EV Charge can be utilised to recharge your battery on the go.
The Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid is available in all the same trim levels as the regular Transit Custom diesel models bar Sport. So choose from Leader, Trend or Limited, in Van, Double Cab or Kombi. All are well equipped, with entry level Leader featuring air-con, heated front seats, heated windscreen & heated mirrors, none of which are offered on the diesel Leader version.
Equipment & spec
Standard equipment is largely identical to the regular range, with the addition of some hybrid-specific kit such as the geofencing equipment. More of that later. So, all versions get air-conditioning, heated front seats, heated door mirrors & a heated windscreen over the diesel.
We were testing the Limited 1.0 litre PHEV which features 16″alloys, a full sized spare wheel, leather steering wheel & gear knob, an Ice Pack which includes the 8″ touchscreen, Apple CarPlay Android Auto, Bluetooth & Ford SYNC. Plus, an 8-way adjustable drivers seat, two 12v power points, a 75 mph speed limiter, remote central locking with deadlocks, front & rear parking sensors & an LED compartment light.
If you look closely, you’ll notice the Custom PHEV features a few discreet badges & of course, a flap just underneath the headlights where you plug in the charging cable. Otherwise, it’s identical to the standard Custom.
As per a normal Transit Custom, but with a single speed gear lever which includes an L regeneration function. So it’s top quality stuff, with plenty of storage areas & cubby holes for van drivers odds & ends. The cabin also features dual front under seat stowage.The central touchscreen’s excellent & separate heating controls underneath are good news when on the move.
Electric range, charging time & fuel economy
Transit Custom hybrid offers a claimed 30.5 miles of pure-electric range & can maintain its state of charge, switching over to electric power as required.
Charging time is 2.7 hours on a home 7kWh charger. Our advice as always is to invest in a home charger & plug in whenever you can. We recommend Rolec; http://www.rolecserv.com/home-charging
As with all electric & plug-in vehicles, how & where you drive it will govern your fuel economy. Drive locally or in urban areas, plug in at night & you’ll get upwards of 80mpg. However, undertake a longer motorway trip & this figure will fall to around 30-35 mpg.
Service intervals & warranty
Service intervals are two years with a recommended yearly inspection. Maximum mileage is 18,000 as opposed to 25,000 miles on Custom diesels.
The vehicle is warranted for three years & 100,000 miles. The batteries are warranted against failure or excessive capacity loss for eight years or 100,000 miles.
The Transit Custom PHEV is fitted with geofencing technology, a system that uses GPS to alter the driving modes of the van most effectively. Basically, Geofences are set up around town & city centres. When operators approach one, the Custom PHEV will get ready to go into EV mode, thereby cutting down on pollution. If the vans EV charge is below 60%, it will switch itself into EV Charge mode to recharge the battery.Once your in the zone fully, the van go into EV Now mode, which prevents the driver from selecting other driving modes until the battery is totally depleted, whereupon it switches into EV Auto mode for maximum efficiency. Simples !
As we’ve already mentioned, the addition of the battery underneath the Custom PHEV, doesn’t take away Transit Custom’s capability. So you get almost the same payload & easily accessible load area, as you’ll find in a normal diesel Custom. So payload ranges from 1,165kg to 1,212kg.
Open the rear doors from 90 -180 degrees & access to the load areas brilliant too.The additional LED load space light & metal bulkhead with load though hatch, aid convenience.
On the road
Its safe to say that we really love driving the Custom PHEV. Quiet, refined, relaxing it’s all of these & more. Add in an excellent driving position, easy to use tech, plenty of cabin storage & room for three up front & it’s a winner. You can feel the battery weight when driving over poor road surfaces.
By utilising the battery range in town, as far as our fuel economy went, we averaged just under 50 mpg. We did though, undertake a 100 mile motorway journey which saw our average drop to 32 mpg.
Brilliant to drive, incredibly relaxing to be in, comes with no range anxiety & features the same payload as a regular Transit Custom. Far more enjoyable to be in than any full-electric van & will take you from city to city without stoping to refuel.
It’s as expensive as most fully electric vans. Disappointingly, the hybrid no longer qualifies for the UK government’s Plug-in Van Grant and if you live in London, it’s no longer exempt if driven within London’s updated ULEV zone.
The Custom PHEV is brilliant in every way. Yes it’s not fully electric. Yes it’s expensive. But we really couldn’t fault it & for many, it will act as a conduit to a fully electric van purchase. It’s just a shame that the Mayor of London has crossed it off the ULEV zone list.
Maximum load length: 2,554mm
Maximum load height: 1,406mm
Maximum load width: 1,775mm
Width between the wheel arches: 1,351mm
Maximum load volume: 6.0 cubic metres
Exterior length: 4,973mm
Exterior height: 2,000mm
Exterior width including door mirrors: 2,272mm
Exterior width without door mirrors: 1,986mm
Front overhang: 1,012mm
Rear overhang: 1,028mm
Side door entry height: 1,324mm
Side door entry width: 1,030mm
Rear door entry height: 1,347mm
Rear door entry width: 1,404mm