Eco-Friendly Ford Transit

Eco-Friendly Ford Transit

The newly updated, Euro-6 compliant Ford Transit and Ford Transit Custom will now feature AdBlue. Professional Builder’s Lee Jones attends the Munich launch to find out more.

From September of 2016 all new vans sold in the UK will be required to meet Euro-6 emissions standards, but for builders in the market for a commercial vehicle what will that mean in practice?

Although an ever escalating scale of European Emissions Standards has been introduced in stages since as far back as the 1990s, they have remained largely invisible to the end user, but this time the introduction of AdBlue will see a slight shift in how tradesmen will be required to operate their vans.

For the uninitiated, AdBlue is what is known as a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, and is made from around 32.5% urea and 67.5% deionized water.

When diesel engines burn fuel they emit Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) particles as a consequence which, when breathed in, can be injurious to human health.

Introducing AdBlue into the exhaust cycle neutralises this potential pollutant and turns it into an innocuous mix of nitrogen and water.

The new requirements of Euro-6 will aim to reduce the emissions of NOx by up to 55 per cent, and an SCR system has emerged as the preferred solution amongst the major vehicles makers – and Ford is no exception.

adblue-fillerA 21 litre tank of AdBlue on the latest incarnation of the Ford Transit and Ford Transit Custom will last for approximately 6,000 miles.

The liquid itself can be purchased from service stations or dealerships, and will be as simple to replenish as windscreen washer fluid.

For other manufacturers who have already introduced their Euro-6 models, however, the technology has not been without its unfortunate consequences, chief among them a slight reduction in payload as a result of the addition of the SCR system and a full AdBlue tank.

By contrast, Ford has avoided this particular problem and achieved the same load carrying capacity on its Euro 6 Transit and Custom as for previous models, and the good news for the loyal customer base of the UK’s market leading LCV doesn’t end there, because a number of new enhancements are in evidence.

In fact, the Ford Transit and its smaller sibling, the Transit Custom, now benefit from an entirely new 2 litre EcoBlue engine, which benefits from many of the powertrain technologies already to be found in the company’s petrol passenger cars.

Those who in part base their purchasing decisions on patriotism will also be pleased to hear that the new engines has been developed at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex, and will be made in Dagenham.

“The most fuel efficient diesel engine we’ve ever produced,” is how Sarah Haslam, Transit Powertrain Integration Manager describes the fruits of those labours, with estimated fuel savings of up to 13% on the 2.2litre unit it is replacing.

In addition, the new engine has up to 20% more torque at low end speeds than its predecessor, whilst later in the year the front wheel drive Transit and Custom will both be available as automatics.

Already a popular option in the US, the six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission will generate a 415Nm torque capacity, with the flexibility to switch to manual shift through the +/- buttons on the gear lever. The fuel saving potential of an Auto Stop/Start option will also be a feature of all of the new models.

On our Munich test routes there was the opportunity to drive each of the three power ratings across both Transit and Custom, and whether it is the 105 PS, 130 PS and 170 PS handling, noise and comfort levels remain almost unparalleled amongst their peers.

Lower noise levels – reduced by 4 decibels at idle – are complemented by a revised hydraulic power assisted steering system and rear air suspension.

ecoblue-engineAs the new Euro-6 regime dawns tradesmen will inevitable incur a modest increase in outlay in purchasing AdBlue itself, whilst every manufacturer will inevitably introduce price rises on new vehicles compared to outgoing models as a result of the additional manufacturing, research and development costs.

At the same time, the savings in fuel efficiency that cleaner more efficient diesel engines afford will quickly offset those rises. Rather than an inconvenience, a happy consequence of the drive to reduce airborne pollutants will be more advanced powertrains and a reduced cost of ownership.

Safety First

When it comes to the quality of a product sales figures rarely lie and a vehicle that achieved its highest levels for more than two decades in April of 2016, was already a very good van, but the new models have seen even more improvements.

Amongst these are additional safety features, which now include Lane Keeping Alert, where the steering wheel will vibrate as a signal that you may be straying across the white line.

Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection warns of the risk of impending impact and provides enhanced braking, whilst Traffic Sign Recognition utilises a system of front end cameras to identify speed limits and restrictions, which are then flashed up on the instrument panel.

Another new system, Side Wind Stabilisation applies the brakes on one side of the vehicle to reduce the effect of a sudden side wind gust on the vehicle’s path.

Key Features

• And estimated fuel cost saving of up to £1,250 over 80,000 miles for the operator of a new 105 PS Transit Custom van compared with the previous 100 PS model.

• New driver assistance technologies include Side Wind Stabilisation and Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection.

• Six-speed automatic gearbox available late 2016

• Euro Stage VI emissions standards compliant with selective catalytic reduction exhaust gas after-treatment using AdBlue

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