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Ford Transit Connect Hybrid taxi prototype to appear in Detroit

GREENCARREPORTS.COM  | Published on Friday, January 6, 2017

Ford Transit Connect Hybrid taxi prototype to appear in Detroit

The Ford Transit Connect small van has proven popular among U.S. taxi drivers.

In some cities, you're just as likely to find Transit Connect taxis plying the streets as traditional sedans—especially in taxi-rich New York City.

But now Ford plans to put a new—and greener—spin on this workaday vehicle.

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A prototype Ford Transit Connect Hybrid taxi will appear next week at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, previewing what could be Ford's first hybrid production taxi in years.

Ford previously marketed the Escape Hybrid crossover as a taxi, until the hybrid option was dropped when the current-generation Escape was introduced for the 2012 model year.

The Transit Connect Hybrid taxi prototype was mentioned in an announcement of a new range of Ford electrified vehicles, encompassing hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric cars.

 

Ford's press release included photos and mentions of the Transit Connect Hybrid, but no technical details.

The latest Transit Connect is built on a variant of the same compact-car platform used for the Ford Focus and C-Max, so it wouldn't be  unreasonable to assume a Transit Connect might use an adaptation—or a new generation—of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and two-motor hybrid system now fitted to the C-Max Hybrid and Energi models.

Offering a hybrid taxi model might give Ford a viable vehicle to counter New York City's Nissan NV200 "taxi of tomorrow," which has no hybrid or electric offering.