Ford supplies all-electric transit vans to US and UK

Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics have begun shipping the first Ford Transit Connect Electrics to customers in North America and the UK.

The all-electric commercial vans, built on the Ford Transit Connect vehicle body, are equipped with Azure Dynamics’ patented ’Force Drive’ battery electric powertrain and assembled by AM General.

Customers include AT&T, Southern California Edison, Xcel Energy, Johnson Controls, New York Power Authority, Canada Post and Toronto Atmospheric Fund EV300.

Ford first announced the collaboration to develop the zero-emission vehicle in October 2009, with an agreement for Azure Dynamics to fit 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.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation provided incentive funding for Azure Dynamics to encourage it to select a Michigan-based partner for the final assembly of the vehicle, leading the company to choose AM General to produce the Transit Connect Electric in its facility in Livonia, Michigan.

The Transit Connect Electric will be followed by the Focus Electric passenger car in 2011, along with a plug-in hybrid electric and two lithium-ion battery-powered hybrid vehicles in 2012.