Azure Dynamics Signs First Dealer for E450 Hybrid
30 June 2008
|The hybrid E450 Cutaway and Strip Chassis drive system. Click to enlarge.|
Azure Dynamics Corporation has signed up its first dealer, Palmetto Truck Center, for the Balance Hybrid Electric E450 commercial vehicle. Azure Dynamics entered an agreement with Ford Motor Company in 2006 enabling Azure to develop a hybrid electric powertrain for Ford’s E-series commercial platform. (Earlier post.)
The Balance Hybrid Electric integrates Azure’s P1 parallel hybrid system on Ford’s E450 Cutaway and Strip Chassis with a conventional 5.4 liter Triton gasoline engine and 5-speed automatic TorqShift transmission.
The hybrid powertrain features electric-launch assist, engine-off at idle and regenerative braking, contributing to improved fuel economy of up to 40%, depending upon duty cycle, with a reduction in maintenance costs of up to 30%.
The E450 Stripped & Cutaway Chassis supports GVWR up to 14,500 lbs (6,577 kg). In addition, a parallel hybrid electric Ford E350 Stripped & Cutaway Chassis will be available in fall of 2008.
Azure’s P1 system is intended to support a GVW range from 10,000 – 19,000 lbs. The company currently has orders from Purolator, Fedex Express, Florida Power and Light and AT&T for the Balance Hybrid.
Azure Dynamics plans to sign approximately 50 dealers in the next year in major metro markets in the United States and Canada. The Company has already identified 33 initial target markets. Prior to the Palmetto relationship, Azure had been selling direct to market, but is broadening its distribution network to meet demand.
Wow are these guys at ford on top of it or what?! (sarcasm)
maybe this is sort of a hail mary but really these guys are as far behind the eight ball as you can get.
Hey Ford how is the view from the bottom of that hole?
Posted by: phronesis | 30 June 2008 at 11:06 PM
I'm trying really hard to see the basis of your criticism of Ford. They signed a deal with a firm offering to make their E450 commercial chassis platform more competitive and this puts them behind the eight ball? This deal and the one with Smith sure appear to be moves in the right direction in making their offerings more fuel efficient. In a world of high fuel prices, that would appear to move them away from the eight ball.
Posted by: Andy | 01 July 2008 at 07:14 AM
Unlike phronesis, I think this is progress. Ford, and GM, are making strides in changing the way they design and build vehicles, including heavy vehicles such as this. I do not feel that Ford is at the bottom (looking up). Sure there are always improvements to be made. I dont see Toyota, or Hyundai, making offerings comparable to this in this market, to compare against.
I think Chrysler(Dodge), as a whole, is in much more serious shape than Ford and/or GM. I realize there is alot going on behind the scenes, but Chrysler's concepts and news seems to be behind the times, with their focus seemingly all involving either Cummings engines or Hemi engines, with the marketing reflecting so. That is quickly becoming "old school" in my opinion. Perhaps there is a market, but it is quickly shrinking.
Back on topic, any efficiency gains in this market could have a major effect. All the Fed Ex or UPS trucks, plus smaller delivery vehicles will add up to major savings, which ultimately will save us some in the long run. Again, I am encouraged, and do not blow it off as not being "on top of it".
Posted by: Mark A | 01 July 2008 at 07:23 AM
These platforms are also used for buses. RTD in Denver is cutting routes due to high fuel prices. Reduce fuel usage by 40% and maybe we will get that upsurge in mass transit that will have a multiplier effect by taking cars off the road. I just wish it could be done more quickly -- like yesterday.
Posted by: JMartin | 01 July 2008 at 07:37 AM
Perhaps Phonesis' point is that if Ford wants to be a truck company then fine, but if it wants to sell cars, and survive as a full range manufacturer then they have to do something that makes them competitive at the bottom end of the range
Posted by: kevin | 01 July 2008 at 08:07 AM
Kevin: You hit it -- they want to survive. At this point, they will sell what they can (what they have to sell).
Posted by: JMartin | 01 July 2008 at 08:44 AM
Kevin hit it my point, which i agree was a little unclear. Ford is going for the stick save as a company right now. I think doing this is great, but why on gods green earth did they not understand that this needed to be accomplished a couple years ago.
And not just that they make the crappiest cars around (which is debatable because gm has some seriously lames ones and chrysler as well) their business model is terrible and I'm upset because I don't want to see americans lose their jobs.
Ford makes great trucks and work vehicles and they need to focus on what they are good at or they will keep losing money hand over fist until the doors close
Posted by: phronesis | 01 July 2008 at 09:28 AM
This is a great move for Ford who doesn't just make small cars. The bulk of their revenue has not been small cars for many years now. It is a light duty truck company.. The greatest fuel savings is by making modest increases in high fuel consuming vehicles.. not by driving a Prius (not that there is anything wrong with that).
Maybe Ford could be more forward thinking if they didn't pay ungodly UAW wages for unskilled labor and have to deal with strike threats on a yearly basis. Do you see that possibly cutting into their R&D budget? maybe a little?
Posted by: Bryan | 01 July 2008 at 09:40 AM
Bryan, have you ever worked on an assembly line at one of these auto companies? Due to the high level of automation highly skilled workers are needed for maintenance. UAW level wages means the auto companies can reject 99% of the labor pool and accept only the cream of the crop. On the other hand my wife worked at one of those non-UAW companies which supplied parts to GM and Ford. The quality of workmanship was so poor the company had more rejected parts going to the dumpster than they had going to the customers. It cost as much in wages to make a reject as it does to make a good part but if it takes twice as long to make good parts due to the high rejection rate then it makes economic sense to pay more for the best workers and get a very low rejection rate.
Posted by: tom deplume | 02 July 2008 at 10:13 AM
"but why on gods green earth did they not understand that this needed to be accomplished a couple years ago."
Ford had a PNGV hybrid that got 70 mpg in 1999. They chose to make SUVs and trucks and not that hybrid. Now Toyota can not make enough Prius and the Escape hybrid is still made on the standard Escape production line and not available in the quantities that they could sell. The decision makers keep making bad decisions.
Posted by: sjc | 03 July 2008 at 09:30 AM