Ford Pro (Productivity) has presented its latest solutions to maximise uptime, service and productivity to business customers in Europe at the IAA Transportation Show 2022.
Showcased on the company’s stand at the event in Hanover, Germany, Ford Pro solutions comprise a single platform integrating vehicles with software, charging and connected services – enabling commercial customers to reduce costs and optimise efficiency as they transition to electric vehicles.
Ford Pro’s line-up of electric vehicles at the Show is led by the all-new E-Transit Custom, which has made its global public debut. Ford Pro has also revealed further details about the next-generation Transit Custom range – including plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and EcoBlue diesel-powered derivatives – ahead of the first vehicle deliveries in mid-2023.
Other productivity-boosting initiatives from Europe’s leading commercial vehicle brand include the advanced new Ford Pro Upfit Integration System, which is designed to enable smarter and more efficient digital-first vehicle conversions, and an enhanced Mobile Service offering in key markets, including Germany.
Ford Pro also reaffirmed its leadership of the pick-up segment in Europe, with the unique off-road Ranger Raptor performance pick-up and premium Ranger Wildtrak both featuring on the company’s stand.
“Spiralling costs are putting our European business customers under huge pressure, and the need for productivity solutions has never been greater,” said Ted Cannis, CEO, Ford Pro. “Ford Pro’s revolutionary single platform is designed to help our customers cut costs and streamline their operations as they make the switch to electric vehicles.”
All-new version of Europe’s best-selling van
The Ford Pro Vehicles line-up in Hanover is headlined by the all-electric E-Transit Custom. Featuring next-generation battery technology to enable a targeted range of 236 miles and 125kW fast charging ability, the van delivers highly competitive performance for a wide range of customer needs.
As part of the most comprehensive Transit Custom range ever, customers can also choose an all-new Plug-In Hybrid version for applications where additional flexibility is required; pure-electric driving capability for city centre work, as well as petrol power for extended highway trips. The new powertrain is similar to that used by the Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid – Europe’s top-selling PHEV in 2021 – and combines a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with a 11.8kWh (usable) battery to deliver a targeted pure-electric driving range of up to 35 miles (EAER) and 2.3kW of power for tools and equipment on work sites via ProPower Onboard.
Customers can also specify Transit Custom with the latest generation of Ford EcoBlue diesel engines in 110PS, 136PS, 150PS or 170PS power outputs. The six-speed manual gearbox is available with an optional mechanical limited-slip differential for enhanced traction. In addition, a high-efficiency eight-speed automatic gearbox is introduced, which offers a maximum towing capacity of 2,500kg and is available in combination with a new all-wheel drive system, available on Transit Custom for the first time.
All-new Transit Custom has been designed from the ground up to deliver outstanding performance and load-carrying capability, and like the all-electric E-Transit Custom, features an extensive range of new customer experiences to enhance productivity, such as the Mobile Office option with innovative tilting steering wheel. Key features and derivatives include:
- All-new vehicle architecture with lower cargo floor height, sub-2m overall height and independent rear suspension
- Four size variants – L1 or L2 lengths, with H1 or H2 roof heights
- Panel van, double-cab-in-van, kombi and L-shaped bulkhead body styles
- Standard 5G modem and 13-inch SYNC 4 touchscreen
- Series line-up with Base, Trend, Limited, Active, Trail and Sport versions
Kombi models are offered in high-series Limited and Trail form for the first time, featuring significantly improved refinement and passenger comfort.
All next-generation Transit Custom vehicles are fully integrated with the Ford Pro platform of software and connected services including end-to-end charging solutions, management tools from Ford Pro Telematics and the FordPass Pro app, and the FORDLiive connected uptime system.
“Our all-new E-Transit Custom is going to help more small businesses than ever transition to all-electric. And for those businesses not yet ready or able to go all-electric, the all-new Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid and EcoBlue variants will still boost productivity, supported by an all-new architecture and the Ford Pro ecosystem of intelligent, connected solutions,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Ford Pro, Europe.
The all-new Transit Custom will be built by Ford Otosan in a state-of-the-art new plant in Turkey. Customer deliveries of Transit Custom with EcoBlue powertrains are set to begin in mid-2023, with additional variants available from later in the year.
Ford Pro Upfit Integration System streamlines digital conversions
Half of all Transits sold in Europe feature some kind of conversion, and many of these modifications require integration with vehicle’s electrical system – including the addition of controls and displays – which can be challenging and time-consuming for converters.
To streamline this process Ford Pro has developed an Upfit Integration System, a first-to-market digital solution that is introduced in Europe on the all-new Transit Custom. The new system features an interface module that allows seamless connection to the vehicle’s electrical system, and also enables conversions to be controlled via the 13-inch SYNC 4 touchscreen8 rather than bolt-on switchgear. This allows conversions to be delivered more quickly and efficiently, as well as potentially improving reliability and safety as converters will not have to modify the cab area or splice into factory wiring to fit controls.
Customers can set logic for operation of conversions, such as preventing a wheelchair ramp from being lowered unless the vehicle is stopped and in park or neutral with the handbrake on. In addition to showing conversion performance on the SYNC screen, digital upfits will also be able to link to Ford Pro software packages for remote monitoring by fleet managers – for example, to track temperature in refrigerated vehicles carrying pharmaceuticals or food and drink where an uninterrupted cold chain is essential.
For additional help to optimise their digital conversions, businesses and converters can obtain further technical support from the specialists in the Digital Solutions team within Ford Pro Special Vehicles.
Ford Pro Mobile Service improving uptime
Ford Pro has also announced the expansion of Mobile Service offering in key markets including Germany. Using specially-converted vans to bring Transit Centre capability to customers’ depots and driveways, Mobile Service is already carrying out 70 per cent of a large UK fleet’s scheduled maintenance work – which is expected to rise to 90 per cent for the all-electric E-Transit and E‑Transit Custom – to save businesses the cost and downtime of workshop visits.
Mobile Service is just one of the solutions delivered by the Ford Pro ecosystem to help businesses accelerate productivity and optimise the cost of commercial vehicle ownership. Ford Pro Service’s FORDLiive connected uptime system helps customers operate their fleets with greater efficiency, harnessing the connectivity offered by the FordPass Connect modem via the Ford Pro Software package.Projections show FORDLiive can reduce downtime by up to 60 per cent The system has already enabled 145,000 days of additional vehicle availability this year, worth around €73 million to customers.