MILWAUKEE --- Johnson Controls-Saft said Dec. 1 that it has been chosen as the lithium-ion battery supplier for Azure Dynamic's Force Drive integration on the Ford Transit Connect Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). 

The all-electric van will be in production beginning in late 2010. 

"Johnson Controls-Saft is committed to the commercialization of hybrid and electric vehicles," said Ray Shemanski, who leads the Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture. "We are proud to be chosen for the BEV and we look forward to strengthening our partnership with both Azure and Ford Motor Co. to advance these leading-edge technologies. This partnership is underscored by our investment of more than $600 million in manufacturing and infrastructure development." 

Commercial transportation in an urban environment accounts for 12 percent of total miles driven, yet is responsible for 25 percent of total greenhouse emissions. The Transit Connect BEV is designed to eliminate gas costs and enable fleet owners to accurately forecast the cost of doing business. It has a targeted range of 80 miles on all-electric power, and is the first of four electric vehicles Ford plans to build in its global commercial vehicle program. 

"We've worked with Johnson Controls-Saft on our Balance Hybrid Electric delivery and shuttle bus project, and are confident that their batteries offer a light, powerful design with a longer life than most current battery technologies," said Curt Huston, Azure Dynamics chief operating officer. "Both Azure and Ford have existing relationships with Johnson Controls-Saft, bringing further synergies to the project." 

In addition to its work with Azure, Johnson Controls-Saft is in production with the Mercedes S-Class hybrid, currently on sale in Europe and the United States. Johnson Controls-Saft also will supply the Li-ion hybrid batteries for the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid available in 2010 and Ford's first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle available in 2012. The Transit Connect BEV will use the same battery technology that is currently installed in the Ford Escape test fleet of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, also supplied by Johnson Controls-Saft.