Ford and Azure Dynamics team up to deliver battery electric commercial van in 2010
The Transit Connect BEV is the first production vehicle from
accelerated electric vehicle strategy, which includes Ford Focus BEV
passenger car in 2011, and a next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid
DEARBORN, MI - Ford Motor Company announced that
Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD) has joined in a collaborative effort to
deliver a pure battery electric Ford Transit Connect van for the United
States and Canadian markets in 2010. Azure will integrate its Force Drive(TM)
battery electric drive train in the Transit Connect van for commercial fleet
and retail use.
The collaboration with Azure Dynamics for the Transit Connect BEV will
build on the existing business relationship between Ford and Azure as well as
their shared experience with battery supplier, Johnson Controls-Saft.
"We recognize an increasing interest in electrified vehicles and have an
aggressive strategy to bring these vehicles to the marketplace," said Nancy
Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. "Our work with Azure to
create a pure electric battery Transit Connect vehicle will allow us to offer
our commercial customers an additional option for environmentally friendly
The Transit Connect BEV will be built on Ford's global commercial vehicle
platform as part of the company's One Ford global product vision. It is the
first of four electrified vehicles from Ford that will become available over
the next three years in the U.S. and Canada including:
- Battery electric Transit Connect van in 2010
- Battery electric Ford Focus passenger car in 2011
- Next generation hybrid vehicle in 2012
- Plug-In hybrid vehicle in 2012
Collaboration builds on existing business relationship
Azure Dynamics develops hybrid electric and electric drive technology for
shuttle buses and commercial trucks, such as the Balance(TM) Hybrid Electric,
which is built on the Ford E-450 cutaway and strip chassis for the medium
duty commercial vehicle segment.
"The opportunity to work with Ford on the Transit Connect BEV is a
breakthrough advancement for us at Azure and for the light commercial vehicle
market," said Scott Harrison, Azure Dynamics CEO. "For Azure, it's an
important evolution of our existing relationship with Ford. From an industry
standpoint, we are seeing delivery fleet and utility vehicle operators move
to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. The Transit Connect BEV will come
to market at an ideal time to meet this growing trend."
Oak Park, Mich.-based Azure Dynamics will integrate its proprietary Force
Drive(TM) battery electric drive train into the Transit Connect BEV, which
will have a targeted range of 80 miles minimum on a full charge and zero
tailpipe emissions. Force Drive(TM) components have previously been deployed
in more than 40 vehicle integrations and have more than 25 million miles of
on-the-road experience. The Transit Connect BEV will offer fleet owners the
opportunity to eliminate the use of gasoline and help to lower operating
costs. The vehicle will be badged with both the Ford Blue Oval and Azure's
Force Drive logo.
Azure Dynamics has selected Johnson Controls-Saft as the supplier for
lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs for the Transit Connect BEV.
Azure Dynamics and Ford both currently utilize Johnson Controls-Saft battery
technology for other products. The Transit Connect BEV will use the same
proven cell technology that is currently deployed in the Ford Escape plug-in
hybrid fleet that is on the road today. In addition, Azure had previously
announced it would use Johnson Controls-Saft lithium-ion batteries for its E-
450 Balance Hybrid Electric beginning in the second half of 2010. The shared
supplier business relationship is expected to provide additional synergy
between Ford and Azure in the Transit Connect BEV project.
Transit Connect commercial platform ideal choice for battery electric
The Ford Transit Connect already is a proven global success. Ford
introduced the gasoline-engine Transit Connect to North America this year.
With a unique combination of car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity,
accessibility and low purchase and operation costs, it is an ideal choice for
electrification. Commercial users often travel predictable, short-range
routes with frequent stop and go driving in urban and suburban environments.
For customers seeking sustainable mobility solutions, the Transit Connect
Battery Electric Vehicle with Azure Force Drive(TM) will provide a zero
The Transit Connect was designed, engineered and manufactured on a
dedicated global commercial vehicle platform to beat tough commercial vehicle
durability standards. The final manufacturing location for the Transit
Connect BEV has not yet been determined.