Companies have long facilitated public-private partnerships to create innovative solutions to the critical issues facing the world today. From Cisco's Smart + Connected Communities effort to Coca-Cola's Project Last Mile delivering medical supplies to remote areas, companies understand the benefits of improving the communities they operate in. Now, one automotive company is taking its work to the streets of London to reduce air pollution as part of a multimillion-pound project.
In the wake of news that London surpassed its 2017 air pollution limit just five days into the New Year, Ford Motor Company announced a new program in partnership with Transport for London to reduce pollution throughout the city. As part of the effort Ford will be introducing 20 all-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans for a 12 month trial. The initiative will "explore how these commercial vans can contribute to cleaner air targets while boosting operator productivity in urban conditions." And the program makes perfect sense for the city of London, where commercial vehicles make "280,000 trips a day for a total of 8 million miles and vans make up 75 percent of peak commercial traffic." Ford is not the first major company to tackle pollution on London's streets. In 2016, UPS* deployed 68 electric vehicles in London, with a goal of moving toward an all-electric fleet this year as part of its commitment to the European Union's Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe (FREVUE) project.
Ford's public-private partnership is a win-win-win for all parties. Ford gets to collect data to better understand how to make electric vehicles efficient, Transport for London gets a jump-start on reducing air pollution in its city and, perhaps most importantly, residents of London benefit from breathing cleaner air. Partnerships like this are just another example of how businesses can lend their unique core competencies to solve major societal issues, while advancing and innovating their own products and services.