|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.