Can a tiny one-litre petrol engine really deliver power and torque equivalent to a 1.6-litre diesel? That’s the question that Ford has set out to answer by inviting visitors to the CV Show to compare the vehicles on a special test circuit at the NEC.
The goal is to get as many members of the public as possible to man-handle the firm’s products.
Dan Jones, Commercial Vehicle Press Officer for Ford explained, “We’ve launched four new vans in the space of eighteen months so the plan [at the exhibition] is to let as many people as possible see, touch and drive them so they can make their choice. We’ve got the entire fleet sales team of fifty people here to advise them.”
He added that the EcoBoost had particularly interested visitors to the show. “There are fleets out there that have concerns about DPF filters getting blocked on diesel products, particularly those that are used for constant stop/start in the city.”
He added that while the firm initially expected the three-cylinder engine to only take a small percentage of sales this was expected to grow as more potential buyers try the vehicle for themselves.
Unlike some other LCV manufacturers, Ford has no plans to introduce an electric variant of the Transit.
Jones added, “Our view is that if we can reduce CO2 by 0.25% on an internal combustion engine then we are going to save far more greenhouse gas than if we sold a couple of hundred electric vans. By making incremental changes on our gasoline and diesel powertrains we are going to see a much bigger saving overall.”
While the dinky petrol engine might be the star, conventional diesel engines have not been overlooked. Recently, the firm announced an investment in the Dagenham plant which should see a new production line making the forthcoming Euro-6 engine line, codenamed Panther.
Last week, Business Secretary Vince Cable visited the technical development centre in nearby Dunton where he saw engine projects including ‘ACTIVE’ (Advanced Combustion Turbocharge Inline Variable Valvetrain Engine), which is in turn part of a government-backed project to ensure that the next generation of low emission powertrains are developed and built in the UK.
All current Ford Transit models are on display at the CV Show. The expo is currently underway at the NEC and runs until 1 May.