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Brief Published: 10 Aug 2020

Ford’s New Technology Tackles Inner-City Air Quality

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Ford

Ford’s new vehicle technology seamlessly switches to electric drive mode when entering low-emission zones to help cut urban pollution. As the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the health risks of air pollution into a new light, pollution-busting inner-city tech is sure to win with businesses and consumers alike.

From this autumn, new Ford Transit vans will include this geofencing module, which also recognises when the vehicle approaches sensitive spaces such as playgrounds and schools and activates battery power to reduce air pollution – the world’s largest environmental health threat, according to the United Nations.

In the UK alone, van traffic made up 50.4 billion vehicle miles in the year prior to March 2020 (Gov UK, 2020), demonstrating the need for eco-conscious vehicle innovation. The technology will be made available to existing Ford hybrid vans for retrofitting, demonstrating the brand’s dedication to cutting emissions. “Improving the quality of air – and quality of life – in our towns and cities is a goal that we all have a responsibility to drive towards,” said Mark Harvey, Ford’s director of commercial vehicle mobility.

The new geofencing module adapts to changing conditions in real time rather than just relying on predefined low-emission zones, providing a flexible response to factors such as weather conditions and air pollution levels. If an area’s pollution spikes, becoming a temporary environmental zone, the new Ford vans will automatically switch to electric power when entering. This technology will be welcome in cities suffering from high levels of localised air pollution. London, for example, reached its 2018 air pollution limit within the first month of the year.

The module also records when the vehicle enters and exits designated environmental zones and records this information on a blockchain ledger to safely collect, store and share emission data with relevant parties such as local authorities and vehicle owners.

For more on the sustainable future of vehicles, see The Road to Sustainability in Tech’s Holistic Revolution and CES 2020: Automotive. Look out for our upcoming report Rethinking City Mobility, publishing on August 13.

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