Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics have begun shipping the first Ford Transit Connect Electrics (earlier post) to early customers in North America and to the United Kingdom for a demonstration project.
The all-electric commercial vans, built on the Ford Transit Connect vehicle body, equipped with Azure Dynamics Force Drive battery electric powertrain, and assembled by AM General at its facility in Livonia, Mich., are reaching the market 13 months after the collaboration to develop the zero-emission vehicle was first announced.
To date, all initial units have designated customers. Azure Dynamics’ LEAD customer program includes eight companies that are taking delivery of their first units in 2010, with the remainder of their orders to be filled in 2011. Customers that have been previously announced include AT&T; Southern California Edison; Xcel Energy; Johnson Controls Inc.; New York Power Authority; Canada Post; and Toronto Atmospheric Fund EV300. Azure just announced an eight, still unnamed, and additional LEAD customers will be identified by the end of the year.
Ford first announced the collaboration in October 2009, with an agreement for Azure Dynamics to upfit the Transit Connect van with Azure’s Force Drive battery electric drivetrain technology including Johnson Controls-Saft’s advanced lithium-ion battery, and a commitment to deliver the initial vehicles by the end of 2010 to the North American market. Initial production began in the fourth quarter of 2010 with full production of the Transit Connect Electric slated to ramp up in April 2011.