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Ford Transit ECOnetic on way

The ECOnetic Transit has a green shift indicator, which shows the driver when it is time to change gear for economical driving.

Ford Australia has announced it will add the ECOnetic Transit van to its local stable, making it the second model to run under the ECOnetic sub-brand following the arrival of a Fiesta version last October.

Like the micro Fiesta, the ECOnetic van runs on diesel.  It has an official average fuel consumption figure of just 7.2 litres for every 100km and produces just 189 g/km of CO2 emissions.

Ford says this places it `at the forefront' of the full-size van market in terms of fuel consumption and in the lead when it comes to CO2 missions.  It is a narrow lead though. Peugeot's Expert large van is the only other van to match the Transit's 7.2L/100km fuel economy figure, but the French worker uses an extra 3 g/km of CO2 per 100km according to the official rating.

The ECOnetic is considerably more efficient than the best selling vans including Hyundai's diesel iLoad which uses an average of 8.5L/100km and 225 g/km of CO2 and the Toyota HiAce that uses 8.6L/100km and 225 g/km.  The ECOnetic Transit is also considerably more efficient than the standard Transit, which uses 8.2L/100km of fuel and produces 216g/km.

Like the regular Transit, the ECOnetic runs a 2.2-litre four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi turbo diesel linked up to a six-speed manual. It has been recalibrated with economy in mind, but still manages to produce the same amount of power and torque as the standard engine - 85kW at 3500revs and 300Nm from 1800 to 2000revs.

Ford says the engine also uses a lower friction oil in a bid to use less fuel.  It is also speed-limited to 110km/h in order to stop the driver getting carried away and ramping up the fuel consumption.  Ford Australia spokesman, Justin Lacy, says it is unlikely the speed limiter will be a problem for drivers.  "There aren't too many Transits out there doing more than 110km/h," he says.

"The limiter is a good idea because obviously the faster you are going, the more fuel you are using."  The ECOnetic Transit has a green shift indicator, which shows the driver when it is time to change gear for economical driving.

It runs 16-inch wheels with more aerodynamic wheel covers and low rolling resistance tyres.  Available as a short wheelbase only, the ECOnetic Transit still has a cargo capacity of 6.55m3 and an 1172kg payload. It costs $35,490 plus on-road costs.

Ford Australia marketing chief, Beth Donovan, says the ECOnetic Transit will make sense for companies considering the environment.  "We expect that the Transit ECOnetic will appeal to customers who prioritise low fuel costs while reducing their impact on the environment," Donovan says.

"It is a true no compromise alternative for business owners as it has better fuel economy and lower emissions than the leading vans on offer today."