SOON, life will never be the same again for the legions of White Van Men and Women hard at work up and down the country, for the world's first one-tonne plug-in load-lugger is now ready to hit the streets, with deliveries in the UK starting before the end of the year.
Fittingly it is Ford which has won this highly-important race to deliver the first hybrid electric technology to the sector, just like its winning ways back in 1965 when it introduced the original Transit Van.
For 2019 however, the new Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid offers the very best of both worlds by combining a pure electric driving capability of up to 35 miles, while being coupled with Ford's multi-award-winning three-pot, 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine.
The Transit's front wheels are driven by the vehicle's 92.9kW electric motor powered by the van's 13.6kWh lithium-ion battery housed under the floor pan.
This gives the Transit a total range of around 310 miles, an overall fuel consumption figure of 91.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 60g/km. To increase the range, just add petrol. Simple.
The net result is that van drivers will be able to carry out their work knowing that although they are behind the wheel of an electric vehicle, they will never run out of juice, yet will be able to enter the ever-expanding number of ultra-low-emission zones to pick-up and deliver knowing they comply with the law, thus avoiding any fixed penalties or nasty hidden charges.
Charging the new Custom Transit Hybrid is simplicity itself, the plug-in port located within the front bumper. To fully charge the battery takes just a little over two-and-a-half hours when plugged into a commercial type-2 AC vehicle charger.
Plug it into a typical domestic 240-volt 10-amp socket and even that takes less than four-and-a-half hours to fully charge the van.
Four distinct modes can be selected in order for the driver to choose when to used the battery power available. EV Auto provides the optimum efficiency according to whatever driving conditions pertain, while EV Now prioritises available battery power for emissions-free driving until the battery level reaches a minimum state of charge and the engine kicks back in.
EV Charge gives priority to the range-extending petrol engine which in turn will also charge the battery for use at a later time. EV Later also utilises petrol power while maintaining the battery level for later use.
However, savvy drivers will quickly cotton on to the fact that the battery is also topped up when decelerating and when under braking. This effect can be aided further by drivers who select Low as opposed to normal Drive via the gear selector.
Lifting off the accelerator pedal when in L mode increases deceleration thus increasing kinetic energy which is then recovered and stored wthin the battery for increased electric driving range.
Inside the new Hybrid Transit, driver comfort is the name of the game. Long gone are the harsh body-coloured painted metal dash and interior trim and vinyl seats.
This new Ford provides all the benefits for the driver that he or she would come to expect in any premium quality car.
Standard throughout each of the three trim levels comes Ford's SYNC 3 eight-inch touchscreen multimedia system, heated seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel, power mirrors ... heated of course, parking sensors front and rear, eight-way adjustable driver's seat and air conditioning.
Driver's will also love the abundance of chubby holes and bottle holders situated throughout the vehicle.
Other on-board features include 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, LED loading lights, a Thatcham alarm, heated windscreen and body-coloured bumpers,side mouldings and door handles. Options include sat nav, park assist, rear-view camera and lane assist.
With the battery hidden under the cargo floor, load volume remains at six cubic metres, while payload is also a healthy 1130kg, especially with such a small engine under the bonnet.
Prices for the Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid range from £39,145 ex-VAT for Leader trim to £42,950 ex-VAT for top Limited spec. All come with Ford's standard eight year/100,000-mile warranty.
Van owners and drivers alike will be highly impressed by this new workhorse, those working in the executive shuttle business have not been left out, for also available to order now is the new Tourneo Plug-in eight-seater.
Sharing the same hybrid system as its Transit sibling, this luxury people-mover offers a pure electric range of up to 33 miles and fuel economy of up to 79.1mpg.
With its superb levels of comfort and refinement carried over from the current 2.0-litre diesel model, this new hybrid will soon prove a winner with operators and passengers alike.