Ashwoods Review & Buyers' Guide
Price on Application
Available as: Ford Transit Hybrid, Engine options: Diesel, Volume (m³): T.B.A, Payload (kg): T.B.A.
Hybridising a Transit is a neat and relatively low-cost way of reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
Ashwoods started life converting vehicles to run on LPG, and indeed it still does, but it is better known these days for its low-cost low carbon solutions for light commercial vehicles.It offers a range of products, but the headliner is the Ford Transit Hybrid. The starting point is any rear-wheel drive Transit and the system works by recovering the energy normally wasted during braking and deceleration, storing it in a battery and then reintroducing it into the drivetrain.It’s basically a similar approach to that used by F1 teams with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), but in this case it’s not used to provide additional power, but to reduce fuel consumption and hence emissions. Ashwoods claims savings of 15 per cent or more.The Hybrid system consists of a generator/motor which is belt-driven from the rear differential and an Intelligent Power Pack Module (battery and software) sited underneath the vehicle by the nearside sliding side door. The finishing touch is a LED Driver Display strip located top-dead-centre of the dash. This indicates the state of the system — whether it’s charging or assisting — as well as suggesting gearchanges for optimal performance.Going for a Transit Hybrid will add around £10,000 to the cost of the base vehicle, considerably cheaper than going the full battery-powered route and there’s the advantage that it never needs to be plugged into a power socket. Ashwoods is planning to introduce a retro-fit version during 2011 and is working on variants for other manufacturers’ products.Ashwoods can also provide a retro-fit Stop/Start system which cuts the engine when stationary at traffic lights or stuck in congestion and then restarts it automatically when it’s time to move on.EcoDrive is a replacement driver instrument module which provides real-time driver feedback in the form of an Optimal Operating Efficiency display and gearshift indicator. It provides the driver with a visual 'sweetspot' for engine efficiency in all driving conditions.Last, but not least, there’s Fuel Logger. It’s a GSM-based unit that fits neatly into the sun visor. Data inputted by the driver at every fuel stop is sent instantly to the Ashwoods website, where customers can securely log-in and track the fuel consumption achieved for each vehicle within a fleet.
For more information visit the Ashwoods web site.
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