A Ford Transit Connect Hybrid taxi prototype will take the stage at next week’s North American Auto Show in Detroit.
The mention of the hybrid taxi was buried in a Ford announcement earlier this week along with a hybrid F-150 pickup, a 300-mile all-electric SUV, two hybrid police vehicles and a hybrid autonomous car.
Ford provided several photographs of the taxi, but no details regarding the powertrain.
A good guess would be borrowing the hybrid system from the Ford C-Max that uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a two-motor hybrid system and a 1.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
Transit Connect vans are a big seller in the U.S., and the passenger version already has a big taxi presence in large cities such as Chicago, New York and San Francisco.
Should the Transit Connect Hybrid taxi see production it wouldn’t be Ford’s first hybrid vehicle used for taxi service. That nod goes to the Escape Hybrid before it was discontinued in 2012 in favor of a gasoline-powered model.
Ford will begin testing a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi prototypes in major cities across the U.S. this year, and if things go well it has its sights on New York City’s Nissan NV200 “taxi of tomorrow,” which is only available with a gasoline engine.
Additionally, a Transit Custom model not sold in the U.S. will debut with a plug-in hybrid in Europe in 2019. The Transit Custom is a mid-size van that fits between Transit Connect and the full-size Transit.