Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics deliver the Transit Connect Electric to European customers in late summer 2011. The Transit Connect Electric is the first of five electrified vehicles (battery-electric, hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles) under development as part of the global electrification strategy at Ford.
Azure will integrate its Force Drive™ battery-electric drivetrain into Transit Connect vehicles in Europe to support the sale of the zero-emission battery-electric models in selected markets. Michigan-based Azure began work on its collaborative agreement to deliver the pure battery-electric powertrain for the Transit Connect in the U.S and Canada in October 2009, and the extension of this collaboration into Europe is a logical next step and it’s the first time Azure will operate in the region.
Transit Connect is ideal platform for electrification
The Ford Transit Connect is built on a dedicated global commercial van platform and offers a unique combination of car-like driving dynamics, significant cargo capacity, accessibility, and low purchase and operating costs. It is already a proven success and an ideal choice for electrification.
Commercial van users often travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent stop-and-go driving in tight urban or suburban environments, resulting in a negative impact on the fuel efficiency of internal-combustion engines. This gives the Transit Connect Electric an added economic benefit. In addition, commercial users generally return to a central location at the end of a driving cycle, perfect for recharging overnight.
The Transit Connect Electric will let European fleet owners eliminate the use of diesel or petrol fuel in their small vans and help lower operating costs. The vehicle will have a targeted range of up to 130 km/80 miles on a full charge with zero exhaust emissions. It will be rechargeable using standard European 220/240-volt outlets within six to eight hours.
Vehicles built without the powertrain will be shipped from the current Ford Otosan manufacturing facility in Kocaeli, Turkey, directly to an Azure-contracted manufacturing location in Europe for final assembly. The completed Transit Connect Electric will then be sold by Azure Dynamics, who will define a specially-created network of dealerships. Repairs to Ford parts under the limited Ford warranty will be provided by Ford dealers. The Transit Connect Electric will be offered in both right- and left-hand drive configurations. Further details of market availability and pricing will be announced closer to launch.
Azure’s Force Drive™ components have previously been deployed in more than 40 vehicle integrations and have more than 25 million miles of on-the-road experience. As with its North american sibling, the European Transit Connect Electric will be badged with both the Ford Blue Oval and Azure’s Force Drive logo.
Ford’s Global Electric vehicles plan
At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show last month, Ford Motor Company confirmed that its global electric vehicles plan would be extending to Europe with five full-electric or hybrid vehicles for European customers by 2013. Specifically, Ford announced it would launch in Europe:
Ford’s global electrification strategy will deliver a suite of electrified vehicles to a variety of markets and build on the company’s overall vision of offering the widest possible range of technology solutions – instead of a single vehicle or technology – to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions for customers around the world.
“We recognize that one technology does not work for all our customers,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “Our electrification strategy and plans include hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles to best meet our global customers needs. Leveraging our global platforms is also central to this strategy and allows us to build on our strong product lineup in the most customer-driven, affordable way.”