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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.

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Ford Lines up European Buyers for Transit Connect Electric Van

Fleet buyers helping push demand for battery power.

by on Mar.29, 2011

The Transit Connect Electric has a range of up to 80 miles per full charge, and can be recharged using 110 or 220 volts.

Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics have announced that the Norwegian Post has becomes the first European customer of the Ford Transit Connect Electric, placing an order for 20 of the battery-electric vans, or BEVs.

“The Norwegian Post will be an environmental leader in the mail and logistics industry by taking advantage of the latest technology available,” said Dag Mejdell, CEO of the Scandinavian nation’s postal service.

“In signing a contract for delivery of the new Ford Transit Connect Electric, the Norwegian Post is taking an important step towards its goal of reducing 150,000 (metric) tonnes of CO2 annually,” Mejdell said, noting his agency has an option to purchase more.

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Norwegian Post is the largest provider of mail and logistics services and the biggest employer in Norway.

Ford and its partner Azure Dynamics, of Oak Park, MI recently began a pilot program for the Transit Connect Electric last December.  (Click Here for more.) A conversion of the standard Transit Connect van, sales officially begin in the summer of 2011.

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Azure Dynamics Lands Record Hybrid Truck Order

Purolator looks to alternative power for delivery fleet.

by on Jan.17, 2011

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

Azure Dynamics has landed a record order for hybrid delivery trucks from global shipping company Purolator, the start-up firm will announce later today.

While miniscule compared to the sales numbers of passenger car hybrids, like the Toyota Prius or Ford Escape Hybrid, the 600-unit order underscores the shift from conventional to alternative power beginning to sweep through the commercial vehicle market.

A senior official with Canadian-based Azure Dynamics estimate that, “on the conservative side,” hybrids could soon account for anywhere from 5% to 10% of the medium-duty truck market, or as much as 30,000 units in a healthy U.S. market.  And demand could grow substantially, forecasts CEO Scott Harrison, if fuel prices keep climbing.

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The Purolator order, which will be delivered over the next three years, represents “a significant turning point” for Azure Dynamics, one of the two major players in the commercial hybrid truck market.  The firm has been steadily narrowing the losses Harrison says are to be expected of a player in such an emerging market, one where start-up costs are substantial.

“We could come pretty close to cash flow breakeven this year,” Harrison said during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Ford Betting On Partners As It Tests Battery Car Market

Maker ready to go it alone if market demand grows.

by on Dec.07, 2010

Ford will sell the Transit Connect Electric for $57,400, and expects demand for at least 700 during the coming year.

If it weren’t for the banner blowing in the wind over the front door one might not realize there was a revolution brewing inside the small, non-descript warehouse, along an industrial strip in the Detroit suburbs.

Operated by AM General, the company better known for producing the military’s trademark HUMMVEE, the facility has been quietly converting Ford’s little Transit Connect van to run on electric propulsion.  The first several dozen Transit Connect Electric vans will be reaching customers before year’s end.  And if they prove successful, 700 or 700 could follow in 2011.

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In automotive terms, that’s not much, but as the market for electric vehicles slowly begins to ramp up, that’s nonetheless a significant development suggests Sherif Marakby, who oversees Ford’s electrification program.

The maker had made a hefty investment in battery power back in the 1990s – reluctantly, under pressure from California regulators who had hoped they could mandate a battery car market.  The project failed and Ford, like its competitors, slashed its investment in the technology.  Now, however, battery power seems to be coming back, in part due to new regulations, but also because of new technologies, as well as public concerns about issues as far flung as global warming and the import of Mideast oil.

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