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Orders Roll in for Ford Transit Connect Electric

Battery van gaining fans.

by on Aug.30, 2011

Initial demand for the Ford/Azure Dynamics Transit Connect Electric van is exceeding expectations.

What was supposed to be a niche vehicle appears to be gaining some unexpected momentum.    Demand for the battery version of Ford’s Transit Connect van is pushing past initial expectations.

The Transit Connect Electric is a joint venture of Ford and the Canadian Azure Dynamics.  The Vancouver-based firm’s lithium-ion-powered driveline gives the compact commercial van a roughly 80 mile range, which the partners are betting hits the sweet spot for delivery services and other urban users.

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While that market is modest, so were Ford and Azure’s initial expectations, with first year sales targets of no more than around 700.  But early demand suggests that demand could push past that goal.

Azure Dynamics has announced its Norwegian Ford dealership, RøhneSelmer, has ordered an additional 100 all electric Transit Connect Electric vans. Its original March order was for just 58 of the vans, which were sold to a variety of clients, among them Norway Post.

A Transit Connect Electric van under construction at Azure's suburban Detroit facility.

“We’ve worked exclusively with Ford for more than fifty years and know that with Azure Dynamics’ technology, the Transit Connect Electric will meet the environmental requirements and tough weather conditions of the Norwegian market,” said Anders Gadsboll, Sales Director of RhoneSelmer.

“We sold 50 Transit Connect Electric vans before the first unit was delivered to us and we’re confident we’ll sell many, many more the remainder of this year and beyond. It’s the right product for today’s Norwegian market.”

Officials at Azure Dynamics’ suburban Detroit office – where the Transit Connect Electric project is based – have insisted they will tap into a significant new market for battery power.  As has reported, there are strong signs that the fleet market for electric vehicles could provide the initial spark for battery propulsion because the needs of many commercial customers are more in line with the limitations of electric propulsion – notably range.

Significantly, General Electric this year announced that it will convert half of its corporate fleet to battery, though it has not yet placed any orders for the Transit Connect Electric.

The Ford van can hit 75 mph using its 28 kilowatt-hours of LIon batteries, with a nominal range of 80 miles per charge.  Using a Level II 220 volt charger, recharging takes roughly four hours, though some large commercial users are eventually expected to install high-speed Level III chargers that could deliver an 80% “refill” in roughly a half hour.

Azure is predicting a surge in sales by the end of the years as more orders come for the Transit Connect Electric, which is emerging as one of the most popular electric vehicles available on the market.


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