Saving, investing and making money with technology

How This Tech-Savvy Van Could Save Businesses a Ton of Money

You know better than anyone that running a business is costly in terms of money and time. Naturally, anything that could save you either one of those things — even just a little bit — is a good investment.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know Ford Motor Co. is working directly with Transport for London — the city’s transit agency — to test hybrid prototypes. They are hybrid Transit Custom vans running on electric, also known as plug-in hybrid or PHEV.

The first question you’ll probably ask is why is this such a big deal? The next, what impact does this have on me and my business?

How Ford’s Hybrid Commercial Vans Will Save Money

Ford’s vans will run on electric power for a vast majority of their daily commutes. This will save a significant amount of money — thanks to lowered fuel costs — and it will also “contribute to cleaner air targets while boosting operator productivity in urban conditions,” says Ford.

The company will be distributing 20 of their Transit Custom commercial vans to businesses across London, which will take place over a 12-month trial. Both Ford, and the City of London are looking to “explore” how the vans will contribute.

The project was funded by nearly five million pounds of UK government money. The aim is to reduce carbon emissions and develop “next generation technology that will make a […] difference [in] people’s lives,” according to the UK’s Minister of State for climate change and industry, Nick Hurd.

So, we know it’s going to save a ton of money, and that it’s great for the environment. But how does any of this have an effect on you and your business?

If the program is a success, it means we will likely see these vehicles rolled out elsewhere. Not to mention, Ford is clearly not the only auto manufacturer working on hybrid or electric vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is also looking at launching an electric Sprinter van, which would have the option of an electric powertrain.

Eventually, this will translate to businesses being able to outfit their entire fleets with electric and hybrid vehicles. Imagine the kind of cost savings that would contribute to your business. How much do you currently spend on your conventional vans and transport fleet?

When you consider what your traditional transit van looks like, it’s evident they’re one of the most efficient ways to transport goods and products for your business. They’re used by industries that range from party planning to carpet cleaning and everything in between. While it’ll be interesting to see the benefits eco-friendly vans have for such businesses, current pricing models for alternative energy vehicles mean we might be waiting a few years before companies start to adopt them.

Is That It?

The new hybrid van is just one of 13 advanced models Ford is promising to introduce to market by 2020. All of this is part of their $4.5 billion “electrification” effort.

As no stranger to the business world, we don’t need to tell you that the transit can is one of the most popular commercial vehicles across a wide swath of countries, including the US, Europe, China and more. If Ford can effectively prove their new hybrid vans are worth investing in — and it certainly seems like they are — we could be on track to phase out the conventional fleet by the end of the decade.

That will bring a sweeping bout of cost savings and green — environmental — benefits for the world.

Get excited, folks — the future is here. You may soon be swapping out your fleet for something more efficient and cost-friendly. Who knows? Within the next couple of decades, conventional fossil fuels may become a thing of the past — at least when it comes to transportation.

One can only hope.

Image by Simon Caspersen

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about gadgets and technology for MakeUseOf, Inc. Innovate and The Gadget Flow. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts: @ProductiBytes

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