Azure Dynamics, a leading developer of hybrid electric and electric powertrains for commercial vehicles, is providing its patented Force Drive(TM) battery electric powertrain to replace the gasoline engine in the popular Transit Connect. Force Drive(TM) components have previously been deployed in more than 40 vehicle integrations and have more than 25 million miles of on-the-road experience. Azure has been designing and developing electric drive systems for more than 20 years.
"The Transit Connect Electric is an ideal vehicle for our Force Drive(TM) technology," said Scott Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Oak Park, MI, based Azure Dynamics. "Force Drive(TM) is especially effective for fleets with predictable short range routes and frequent stop-and-go urban driving conditions that Transit Connect Electric vehicles are likely to encounter. We’ll be able to offer owners lower operating and maintenance costs and zero emissions in a vehicle that can go up to 80 miles on a charge," Harrison said.
"Fleet owners are demanding greater operating efficiency in cleaner vehicles. The Transit Connect Electric delivers on both fronts," said Gerry Koss, Ford fleet marketing manager. "As the first product in our aggressive electrified vehicle plan, we expect the Transit Connect Electric to be an immediate hit and keep Ford squarely on track to leadership in the electric vehicle market."
Force Drive’s(TM) lithium-ion battery, provided by Johnson Controls-Saft, is expected to last the life of the Transit Connect Electric and replaces all the energy provided by gasoline in the standard Transit Connect. When the vehicle is operating, battery power is provided to the drive motor through the electric powertrain’s motor controller which uses throttle input from the driver to convert DC power supplied by the battery into three precisely timed signals used to drive the motor.
Integration of the battery has been done without infringing on interior passenger room and cargo space and, other than Azure’s Force Drive(TM) badge on the exterior of the vehicle and information provided on the instrument cluster, the Transit Connect Electric will be identical to the standard Transit Connect vehicle.
The Transit Connect Electric represents a continuation of Azure’s ongoing relationship with Ford Motor Company. Azure’s Balance(TM) Hybrid Electric medium-duty commercial vehicle, a favorite delivery vehicle for a number of major national fleets including FedEx Express, AT&T and Purolator Courier, is built on the Ford E-450 cutaway and strip chassis as is the Balance(TM) Hybrid Electric shuttle bus.
"Our goal at Azure is to ‘be part of the solution’ and we think the Transit Connect Electric meets that challenge in every way," said Harrison. "We’re delighted to be partnering with Ford on this product and we’re confident the market is going to be delighted with the result of our collaboration. It’s exactly the right product at the right time for today’s commercial vehicle market."
Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD) is a world leader in the development and production of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles. Azure is strategically targeting the commercial delivery vehicle and shuttle bus markets and is currently working internationally with various partners and customers. The Company is committed to providing customers and partners with innovative, cost-efficient, and environmentally-friendly energy management solutions.