Azure Dynamics Selects Southern California Edison as Lead Customer for Ford Transit Connect Electric

As leaders of the alternative energy transportation industry gathered in Dearborn, Michigan for the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) annual meeting, Azure Dynamics and Ford Motor Company announced that Southern California Edison (SCE) is the newest addition to the Ford Transit Connect Electric LEAD customer program with a 20 unit order. SCE is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and operates one of the world’s most sophisticated fleets of alternative powered vehicles. As a LEAD customer, SCE will take delivery of one of the exclusive supply of the Ford Transit Connect Electric vans to be produced in late 2010 and will receive its remaining 19 vans in 2011.

Southern California Edison’s Transit Connect Electric purchase continues to build on its collaboration with Ford Motor Company to examine the future of plug-in hybrid vehicles as part of a complete vehicle, home and grid energy system.

"At SCE, we’re always looking for innovative strategies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in our fleet," said an SCE spokesperson. "As a power provider, we need to fully comprehend the opportunities and obstacles associated with expected increases in PHEV adoption. The Ford Transit Connect Electric is an important and noteworthy product in the on-going development of electric mobility and we are excited to experience it first-hand."

To create the Ford Transit Connect Electric, Azure integrates its proven Force Drive(TM) electric powertrain into the Ford Transit Connect and utilizes an advanced lithium-ion battery from Johnson Controls-Saft to achieve a range of up to 80 miles on a single charge. The battery is rechargeable using either a 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlet. Commercial vans generally return to a central location at the end of each driving cycle making for easy overnight recharging. Use of the vehicles will also reduce fuel and maintenance costs, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"With its reputation for operating one of the most advanced alternative vehicle fleets in the world, SCE is exactly the type of blue-chip company Azure and Ford hoped to attract to the lead customer program," said Scott Harrison, Azure’s CEO. "Together, we hold leadership positions in respective disciplines and are fully aligned in the common cause of increasing the usage of sustainable transportation technologies."

Attendees at HTUF will have the opportunity to view and drive the Ford Transit Connect Electric. The vehicle is on display on the show floor and is scheduled to participate in Thursday’s (9/30/10) "massive, moving" vehicle convoy. It will also take part in the "world’s biggest" ride and drive that same day.

"The Transit Connect Electric offers fleet owners the space and convenience of a small commercial van, while at the same time allowing a business to reduce their environmental impact," said Nancy Gioia, director of global electrification, Ford Motor Company. "Through our partnership with Azure Dynamics, the Ford Transit Connect Electric will help businesses like SCE reduce their fleet’s use of gasoline and lower their overall emissions."

SCE’s service territory includes some 430 cities and communities with a total customer base of 4.9 million residential and business accounts. The Ford Transit Connect Electric vans will be deployed in at least 12 California cities and replace gas powered pick-up trucks in SCE’s meter services fleet.

SCE was the first utility to join with Ford Motor Company in a unique partnership aimed at accelerating commercialization of electrified transportation and received the first of the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid demonstration fleet vehicles in 2007.

The Transit Connect Electric is one of five electrics vehicles Ford will introduce over the next three years. The four other electric vehicles include the Ford Focus Electric passenger car in 2011, two next generation lithium-ion battery hybrids and a plug-in hybrid in 2012.

Azure Dynamics Corporation 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 a variety of partners and customers. The Company is committed to providing customers and partners with innovative, cost-efficient, and environmentally-friendly energy management solutions.

Ford Motor Company , a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.

An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.