Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics have begun shipping the first Ford Transit Connect Electrics to early customers in North America and to the United Kingdom for a demonstration project.
The all-electric commercial vans, built on the Ford Transit Connect vehicle body, are equipped with Azure Dynamics' patented Force Drive battery electric powertrain, and assembled by AM General at its facility in Livonia, Mich., are reaching the market 13 months after the collaboration to develop the zero-emission vehicle was first announced.
To date, all initial units have designated customers. Azure Dynamics' LEAD customer program includes seven companies that are taking delivery of their first units in 2010, with the remainder of their orders to be filled in 2011. Customers that have been previously announced include AT&T, Southern California Edison, Xcel Energy, Johnson Controls Inc., New York Power Authority, Canada Post and Toronto Atmospheric Fund EV300. Additional LEAD customers will be identified by the end of the year.
Ford first announced the collaboration in October 2009, with an agreement for Azure Dynamics to upfit the Transit Connect van with Azure's Force Drive battery electric drivetrain technology. Initial production began in the fourth quarter of 2010 with full production of the Transit Connect Electric slated to ramp up in April 2011.
Transit Connect Electric is the first product in Ford's accelerated electrified vehicle plan, and will be followed by the Focus Electric passenger car in 2011, along with a plug-in hybrid electric and two next-generation lithium-ion battery-powered hybrid vehicles in 2012.
Ford and Azure Dynamics already have announced they will collaborate to produce the Transit Connect Electric for the European market with first units to be delivered in 2011.
The all-electric, zero-emissions Transit Connect Electric has a driving range of up to 80 miles per full charge. Owners will have the option of recharging Transit Connect Electric with either a standard 120-volt outlet, or preferably a 240-volt charge station, typically installed at the user's base of operations for optimal recharging in six to eight hours. A transportable cord that works with both types of outlets will be available for convenient recharging at either voltage.