OSLO, NORWAY - Norwegian Post, the largest provider of mail and logistics services in Norway, has signed a contract to purchase 20 Ford Transit Connect Electric vans. 

The Transit Connect Electric is a pure electric-powered version of the long-wheelbase Transit Connect light commercial vehicle. Azure Dynamics Corp.'s proprietary Force Drive powertrain uses an advanced lithium-ion battery pack designed by Johnson Controls-Saft.

Ford Motor Co. and Azure Dynamics Corp. have confirmed that Norwegian Post is their first European customer for the zero-emission electric van. Norwegian Post also has the option to order more of the electric vans in the future. 

Ford and Azure are introducing the Transit Connect Electric in Europe this summer. The vehicle was introduced to the North American market last year. With 28 kWh of power to call on, the Transit Connect Electric has a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) and a range of up to 130 km (80 miles) on a full charge. 

"Transit Connect Electric was designed and engineered with customers like Norwegian Post in mind," said Scott Harrison, Azure CEO. "The ForceDrive powertrain excels under the types of urban driving conditions that the Transit Connect Electric is likely to encounter during postal delivery routes." 

The Ford Transit Connect Electric is the first of five electrified vehicles that Ford plans to launch in Europe by 2013. Next comes the Ford Focus Electric in 2012, followed by the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, as well as another hybrid electric model in 2013. 

"By providing a variety of electrified vehicles, we are making it easier for our customers to embrace this fuel-saving technology," said Thormod Skofsrud, managing director of Ford Norway.