Azure Dynamics Corporation announced that AT&T has agreed to purchase two of the first Ford Transit Connect Electric vans. (Azure, which provides and integrates the electric powertrain into the Transit glider provided by Ford, is responsible for the sales of the vehicle—an arrangement similar to that for the production and sales of the Balance hybrid.)
The Ford Transit Connect Electric is powered by Azure Dynamics’ Force Drive electric drivetrain with a lithium-ion battery pack from Johnson Controls-Saft. The vehicle, which goes on sale later this year, has a range of up to 80 miles (129 km) on a single charge and will be rechargeable using either 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlets. It has a top speed of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h).
AT&T currently operates more than 77,000 vehicles in its corporate fleet, including 15 gasoline-powered Ford Transit Connect vehicles AT&T began piloting in 2009.
By combining car-like driving dynamics with truck-like cargo capacity, Ford Transit Connect Electric is well-suited to the demands placed on urban delivery vehicles for small businesses and larger, corporate fleets.
The Transit Connect Electric is expected to offer lower cost of operation because recharging with electricity is generally less expensive than refueling with gasoline. Additionally, customers will benefit from lower maintenance costs as the electric drive train has far fewer moving parts to maintain.
AT&T plans to take delivery of the Transit Connect Electric in late 2010.