• May 19, 2010
Ford Transit Connect Electric – Click above for high-res image gallery

When Ford and Azure Dynamics unveiled the Transit Connect Electric van earlier this year, Azure announced that the electric drive systems would be installed at a facility in Michigan. Today, Azure let it be known that the installation work will be done by AM General, a company that's best known for producing the military-spec Humvee, at its engineering and product development facility in Livonia, MI.

Ford will be shipping Transit Connect gliders (vehicles without any fuel or powertrain components installed) from its plant in Turkey to the AM General plant. Azure will ship the motors, power electronics and batteries to the plant where AM General will do the final assembly. The first units will be produced late this year with full production ramping up by April of 2011. The Transit Connect Electric will have a range of about 80 miles and be targeted at commercial customers, although Ford will apparently sell the van to any customer who wants one. Official press release available after the jump.


Photos by Drew Phillips, Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Azure Dynamics]

PRESS RELEASE

Azure Dynamics Selects AM General for Ford Transit Connect Electric Upfitting

Innovative product to be built at AM General's Livonia, MI facility

• Azure Dynamics and Ford Motor Company are collaborating to create an electric version of the 2010 North American Truck of the Year, the Ford Transit Connect Electric
• AM General was selected to upfit the base Ford Transit Connect with the Azure Force DriveTM electric drive train components
• Southeast Michigan further establishes itself as a center for alternative energy vehicle development

Oak Park, Michigan – May 18, 2010 – Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD)(OTC:AZDDF) the fast growing hybrid electric and electric power train innovator for the commercial truck market, today announced that AM General LLC will collaborate in producing the Transit Connect Electric, the all-electric version of Ford Motor Company's award winning Transit Connect.

In this role, AM General, a long-established contract vehicle manufacturer and services provider, will be responsible for final assembly of the Transit Connect Electric for the North American market from its Engineering and Product Development Center in Livonia, Michigan. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) provided Azure Dynamics with incentive funding to encourage the selection of a Michigan based partner. Further MEDC High Technology Mega Tax credits may be available based on specific job creation criteria.

"Our hierarchy for facility selection criteria began by identifying a partner with the proven technical expertise and high quality standards that both Azure and Ford customers expect," said Curt Huston, Azure Dynamics Chief Operating Officer. "Secondly, we wanted a facility in Southeast Michigan that capitalized on the area's highly skilled automotive workforce and available manufacturing capacity. AM General fit the bill and we are delighted to add their capabilities and know-how to this revolutionary vehicle program."

AM General will receive Transit Connect "gliders" (powerless vehicles without a conventional powertrain or exhaust system) from the Ford manufacturing location in Turkey, and Force DriveTM electric components from Azure and supplier facilities in North America. The current production plan includes an initial quantity of vehicles to be built in late 2010 with full production scheduled to begin in April 2011.

"AM General is excited to be part of this new 'green' solution for the commercial truck market by leveraging our extensive vehicle manufacturing capabilities and our experience in alternative powertrain integration," said Rick Smith, President AM General Commercial Business. "We are also pleased to be part of a new production program that will contribute to the industry's important advances in alternative energy vehicles."

Transit Connect Electric is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and is among the first fully electric vehicles available to the commercial market. Battery power is provided to the drive motor through the electric powertrain's motor controller. Throttle input from the driver converts DC power supplied by the battery into three precisely timed signals used to drive the motor. The Transit Connect Electric's appearance will be identical to the standard Transit Connect vehicle other than inclusion of Azure's Force DriveTM badge on the rear of the vehicle and information provided on the instrument cluster.

With a unique combination of car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and low operation costs, Transit Connect Electric is an ideal choice for light-duty commercial vehicle users who travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent stop-and-go driving in urban and suburban environments. Transit Connect Electric converts AC power to DC power to charge the battery in six to eight hours at 240V and has a range of up to 80 miles on a single charge.

With zero tail pipe emissions, Transit Connect Electric also will appeal to customers seeking sustainable mobility solutions and to municipalities seeking to reduce vehicle emissions to the environment.

For more information on how Azure Dynamics products are Driving a World of Difference, please visit www.azuredynamics.com.

About Azure Dynamics
Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD)(OTC: AZDDF) 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. For more information please visit www.azuredynamics.com.

About AM General LLC
AM General is a full service, contract vehicle manufacturer that designs, builds and supports the world's leading all-purpose vehicles for military, commercial and consumer customers. As manufacturer of the famous HMMWV (HUMVEE®) and HUMMER® H1 and H2 vehicles, AM General has more than five decades of experience in meeting the changing needs of the defense and automotive industries through 2,500 employees at major facilities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio plus a strong supplier base that stretches across 43 states. More information can be found at www.amgeneral.com
The TSX Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      There was nothing wrong with the HUMMER other than it became the poster child of hate for tree hungers and others of the far left.

      And before you all give Ford the corporate citizen of the year award, remember they rip out the interior and throw it away after importing the Transit Connect to get around the chicken tax. How green is that?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "There was nothing wrong with the HUMMER other than it became the poster child of hate for tree hungers and others of the far left."

        You mean other then the fact their unnecessarily enormous size and weight of the H2 posed a danger to others on the road with it? I once saw a H2 t-bone an old honda civic, guess who drove away and whole left in an ambulance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well technically they recycle the materials, so it's not completely wasted, but still, it's ridiculous. But it isn't Ford's fault that our country has Byzantine import laws on trucks. If it bothers you, talk to your Congressman.
      • 4 Years Ago
      AM General assembled the Jeep DJ for years. Is that ironic too?
      • 4 Years Ago
      is it wrong that I got a chortle out of the url?

      isnt-it-ironic-ex-hummer-builder-am-general-handling-final-ass
      • 4 Years Ago
      I fail to see any irony? What's so ironic about AM General assemblying Transit Connects?
        • 4 Years Ago
        AM General is descended from Willys, Overland, Kaiser and Studebaker and became AM General under the ownership of AMC. When Renault purchased a controlling interest in AMC, AM General had to be sold because US law forbids defense contractors from being owned by foreign governments and Renault was partly state-owned. It's only connection to GM is the sale of intellectual property rights to the Hummer brand, and assembly of some Hummer models as a contract manufacturer, just as they are acting here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Worked for GM now works for Ford
        Assembled gas hog Hummers, now EVs

        The transit connect would be awesome for hauling bikes, camping gear and kayaks, look at the space.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They are not the only ones left hanging by GM, that are going to end up being in competition with them. I suspect dealers that were screwed by GM will soon be selling foreign, maybe Chinese, French, Spanish or Indian vehicles in competition with GM, and doing it fervently.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Silly. AM General has nothing to be penant for. Let's not forget that they developed the HMMWV for military operations and happened to sell a handful to civilians that wanted them. The Hummer brand was perpetuated by GM with AM General's cooperation, but it was GM's doing. AM General still builds Humvees because there's still a need for them in the role they were developed for (and then some). There's nothing wrong with that.