Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics Corporation have signed a collaborative agreement to begin delivering a pure battery electric version of the Ford Transit Connect van to customers in Europe beginning in late summer 2011.
Michigan-based Azure began work on its collaborative agreement to deliver the pure battery-electric powertrain for the Transit Connect in the US and Canada in October 2009 following the end of Ford’s partnership with Smith Electric Vehicles US on that project (earlier post). The extension of the Ford-Azure collaboration into Europe is a logical next step, Ford said, and will be the first time Azure will operate in the region.
Azure will integrate its Force Drive battery electric drive train into Transit Connect vehicles in Europe to support the sale of the zero-emission battery-electric models in selected markets.
The Transit Connect Electric will have a targeted range of up to 130 km/80 miles on a full charge and zero exhaust emissions. It will be rechargeable using standard European 220/240-volt outlets within 6 to 8 hours.Glider units, vehicles built without the powertrain, will be shipped from the current Ford Otosan manufacturing facility in Kocaeli, Turkey, directly to an Azure-contracted manufacturing location in Europe for final assembly. The completed Transit Connect Electric will then be sold by Azure Dynamics, who will define a specially-created network of dealerships. Repair works under the Ford warranty will be provided by Ford dealers. They will be offered in both right- and left-hand drive configurations. Further details of market availability and pricing will be announced closer to launch.
Ford’s relationship with Azure Dynamics is already well established in North America and is now extending to Europe. In North America, Azure develops hybrid electric and electric drive technology for shuttle buses and commercial trucks, such as the Balance Hybrid Electric, which is built on a Ford E-450 cutaway and strip chassis for the medium duty commercial vehicle segment.
At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show last month, Ford Motor Company confirmed that its global electric vehicles plan would be extending to Europe with five full electric or hybrid vehicles across its C, CD and light commercial vehicle ranges coming for European customers by 2013.
Specifically, Ford announced it would launch in Europe:
- Two zero-emission full battery-electric vehicles: the light commercial Transit Connect Electric in 2011 followed by the Ford Focus Electric in 2012.
- Two next-generation petrol hybrid-electric vehicles to be introduced in 2013.
- A plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle also to be introduced in 2013.