Ford Transit Custom ECOnetic 310 SWB 100
FUEL prices are increasing in a never-ending upward spiral, to the extent that diesel is now the second biggest cost of a van after the price of the vehicle itself.
There is also an increasing feeling among van operators that, whether they like it or not, they have some kind of duty to try, in some small way, to help protect our environment.
So it’s hardly surprising that the van manufacturers are coming out with new variants that have the name ECO in them.
Yup, most of the big names now have eco versions and latest kid on the green block is the new Ford Transit Custom ECOnetic, which reckons to be the greenest of all in the medium panel van sector.
If we were to be honest we’d say more SME van fleet operators will be attracted to this model by the lower fuel bills than by the idea of helping save the planet, but whatever the truth the ECOnetic fits the bill in both directions.
So what makes it more fuel-efficient than the bog standard Transit Custom?
For starters, there’s an auto stop-start system that is reckoned to save around 10% in fuel bills when used in an urban environment. Then there’s a 70mph speed limiter to stop drivers yahooing about on the motorways and wasting diesel. You can opt to have this nudged down to 60mph or even 56mph if you want – with corresponding fuel savings.
On top of that, the Transit Custom ECOnetic gets an acceleration control system. It’s a brand new piece of technology from Ford that limits the acceleration to levels achievable when the vehicle is fully laden, enabling significant fuel savings when the vehicle is unladen or part-laden.
Tests show that Acceleration Control can reduce real-world fuel consumption by between 4% and 15% and cuts wear-and-tear on brakes, tyres and other components.
The engine is also slightly re-calibrated for better economy, there’s a coolant bypass valve for quicker warming up and low rolling resistance tyres with aerodynamic wheel trims.
All this lot adds up to a combined fuel economy figure of 44.8mpg for the Ford Transit Custom ECOnetic – a pretty impressive figure when you think that 15 years ago vans like this were returning around half that.