Ford has unveiled its first fleet of plug-in hybrid vans (PHEV) to be trialled in the capital by the likes of Transport for London, the Met police and Addison Lee, amid efforts to clamp down on air pollution in London.
The multi-million pound project is designed to explore how lower-emission electric vans could help achieve cleaner air targets, as well as boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions, which Ford notes as the "toughest working environment for commercial vehicles".
Read more: Ford is driving into consumer savings
The project, supported by TfL, features a 12-month trial of 20 new Ford Transit PHEVs that reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power for the majority of inner-city trips. It will start this autumn.
The fleet will be equipped with range extenders, are not limited by battery range, and so are a viable choice for businesses requiring longer journeys.
The participating companies will use 20 new Ford Transit PHEVs for the 12-month trial and integrate them into their day-to-day operations. A Ford telematics system will collect data on each of their financial and environmental performance to assess how the benefits of electrified vehicles could be maximised.
The fleet's users will include the Metropolitan Police which will use two vans, and TfL, using three vans for freight duties, while Clancy Plant, Addison Lee and British Gas are also on board.
Ford has also named Mark Harvey as its director of its new urban electrified van programme. He will work directly with TfL as well as the Ford development team.
Ford's development of the Transit PHEV, which is planned for commercial introduction in 2019, marks part of the car giant's $4.5bn (£3.5bn) investment in electrified vehicles by 2020.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has been vocal in his concern over air pollution in London, and recently announced measures to help address the issue, including the introduction of an ultra low emission zone to come into force from April 2019.