• Jul 28th 2011 at 2:16PM
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2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty – Click above for high-res image gallery

Azure Dynamics has signed an agreement with Ford, whereby the Oak Park, MI firm will integrate its plug-in hybrid technology into Ford's F-Series Super Duty trucks.

Working in collaboration with Ford, Azure's plug-in hybrid technology will debut on the F-550 Super Duty chassis cab in early 2013. This agreement also allows for Azure to perform plug-in hybrid powertrain conversions on all available configurations of Ford's F-350 and F-450 trucks. Azure says that roughly two-thirds of its plug-in hybrid system will be applicable for all Super Duty configurations, with approximately one-third needing to be powertrain-specific (i.e. gasoline or diesel).

Additionally, the Azure-Ford agreement includes a so-called "ship-thru" provision that will allow Azure to sell its converted vehicles through qualified Ford Commercial Truck dealerships in North America. In 2009, Azure struck up a similar deal with Ford for the Transit Connect Electric.

Photos copyright ©2010 Rex Roy / AOL

[Source: Ford]
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Azure Dynamics To Begin Integrating Plug-In Hybrid Technology in Ford F-Series Super-Duty Trucks

Azure's plug-in hybrid technology to be initially integrated on Ford's market leading F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, the F-550, expected in early 2013

Agreement provides for Azure to integrate its plug-in-hybrid technology on other Ford F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, including the F-350 and F-450

The commercial cab and chassis industry supports approximately 100,000 vehicles per year
Ford F-Series Super Duty platform is the clear cab and chassis market leader with greater than 50% share

F-Series program furthers existing business relationship between Azure and Ford that previously brought the innovative Transit Connect Electric and the E-450 BalanceTM Hybrid Electric Step Van and Shuttle Bus to market

Oak Park, Michigan – July 27, 2011 – Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD)(OTC: AZDDF) ("Azure" or the "Company"), a world leader in the development and production of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles, today announced an agreement with Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) whereby Azure will integrate its proprietary plug-in hybrid ("PHEV") technology into the market leading Ford F-Series Super Duty product line.

In collaboration with Ford, Azure's plug-in hybrid technology will be initially integrated on Ford's market leading F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, the F-550, which is expected to be available in early 2013. The agreement also allows Azure to perform hybrid powertrain conversions on other Super Duty platforms including F-350 and F-450 models and spans all engine, frame length and regular production options and configurations. The Super Duty program will allow Azure to further expand its product line-up in its targeted medium duty commercial truck segment.

The Azure/Ford agreement includes a 'ship-thru' provision that permits Azure to place vehicles in the Ford transportation system and allows qualified Ford Commercial Truck dealerships to sell and service the product in key markets in North America.

"We are extremely pleased to expand our relationship with Ford and launch our PHEV technology on the F-Series Super Duty platform, which is the largest and most successful cab and chassis brand in North America," said Scott Harrison, Azure's CEO. "This is an ideal outcome for Azure and our customers."

With more than a 50% market share, the Ford F-Series Super Duty is the most established cab and chassis brand in the North American market. The commercial cab and chassis industry supports approximately 100,000 vehicles per year and is the preferred active work-truck for thousands of commercial fleets managing a broad range of logistical needs. The Super Duty offers several diesel and gasoline engine options and a variety of cab, bed and accessories options.

Collaboration builds on existing business relationship
Azure and Ford teamed up in 2009 to bring the innovative Transit Connect Electric to market in just 13 months after the program was first announced. The new PHEV F-Series program further expands the Azure/Ford business relationship which, in addition to the Transit Connect Electric, also markets the E-450 BalanceTM Hybrid Electric Step Van and Shuttle Bus.

"As interest in alternative energy products continues to grow, consumers are looking for more powertrain options that are both environmentally friendly and fit their driving needs," said Rob Stevens, Commercial Vehicle Chief Engineer, Ford Motor Company. "The flexibility of our vehicle platforms and chassis allows Ford to develop our own alternative fuel products or work with partners, like Azure Dynamics, to deliver consumers with the power of choice when purchasing a greener, more fuel efficient vehicle."

Prior to the Transit Connect Electric development, Azure and Ford collaborated on the E-450 cutaway and strip chassis to create the BalanceTM Hybrid Electric, a truck or shuttle that achieves up to 40% fuel improvement while reducing emissions and maintenance costs by up to 30% each. BalanceTM Hybrid Electric has 60% share in the medium duty (class 2c – V) hybrid commercial truck market in North America and is deployed in notable fleets like AT&T, CINTAS, DHL, FedEx Express, and Purolator to name a few.

Market Outlook
It is expected that the cab and chassis market could grow by as much as 50% over the next five years as fleet operators, who have delayed purchase decisions, return to market to replace aging inventory. Interest in fuel efficient cab and chassis alternatives has never been greater due to rising and unpredictable fuel costs.

Moreover, enthusiasm for eco-friendly technologies that began with the largest national commercial fleets, is spreading to smaller, regional fleets that increasingly understand that alternative energy technologies do not require a sacrifice in performance or durability. The Ford F-Series Super Duty has already attracted legions of loyal customers, many of whom are enthusiastic about the performance benefits associated with the new PHEV option.

"The F-Series program aligns perfectly with our product development strategy," said Harrison. "We're able to focus on development and integration of our powertrain solutions and at the same time benefit from Ford's expertise in building ground-up vehicle platforms keeping Azure's capital costs in check."

"Our engineering team has proven the flexibility of our technology through more than 40 different vehicle integrations and 35,000,000 miles of real world driving experience. We've been searching for the right opportunity and knew we could move quickly and intelligently when we found it. We feel strongly that the Ford F-Series program is exactly the right opportunity."

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 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. For more information please visit www.azuredynamics.com.

The TSX Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Supplement Your Fuel
      • 4 Years Ago
      Get a Hydrogen hybrid Conversion installed in the SF Bay Area for $1600 for most cars and small trucks. These are HOD (hydrogen on demand) nothing is stored. Gas or Diesel on hybrid or not. Plus you get a tax credit for installing hybrid hydrogen upgrades. 35%-60% gains. Talk to @hybridwatercar on twitter or tinyurl.com/waterpowered
      • 8 Months Ago
      Yay, OK Ford will make these - hoorah hoorah, but the reality is Ford will likely make 10 of these a year and sell them for 50% more than the non-hybrid version. Its a bunch of PR baloney. I can't believe that the Ford Escape hybrid has been out for so long and you can't find them on dealer lots and they're still so expensive. Toyota sells 18,000 prius's a MONTH. Ford is lucky to sell that many hybrids in a year. PS - We own two Fords, we have the A plan. Ford just pisses me off.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow. It's cool that PHEVs will be available for such a large vehicle. But these seems to indicate that Ford is continuing its cowardly out-sourced approach to EVs.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I think the outsourcing is likely related to the small expected volumes
        • 8 Months Ago
        You bet they'll but the company if it proves successful (and lucrative).
        • 8 Months Ago
        Why is it cowardly? Not everything has to be done in house if there is a better, cheaper solution available. Every car company uses suppliers, how is this any different? Was it cowardly for tesla to use a Lotus platform?
          • 8 Months Ago
          Having a tiny company electrify their vehicles shows that Ford doesn't intend to sell these in volume and is willing to share any profits with someone else (pretty much the same thing). More importantly Ford doesn't build up any in-house experience of making PHEV trucks, which in 2011 seems insane. Perhaps "Far from committed" is a better phrase than "cowardly".
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree w/ Paul on this. Why isn't Ford doing this themselves,??---they have the resources to do it right from the bottom's up..... Sort of like GM did w/ their nice 2 mode system for the trucks and the Volt. Both great engineering masterpieces. A half baked effort Ford!!
        Marco Polo
        • 8 Months Ago
        George, Ford may not be responding to the demands of the readers of ABG. But then, then I guess not many ABG readers buy F-Series. Some do, and really care about environmental vehicles, but the majority of F-series buyers just don't care. Ford wasn't part of the great bail-out by the US taxpayer, and as a result has to carefully and cautiously remain profitable by not taking risks. The outsourcing of a modified F-series, is win for Ford. Selling niche vehicles, for very little additional investment, but retaining the kudos, is not new to Ford. Shelby vehicles are testament to the success of such marketing methods. While Ford remains profitable, the company can observe and learn from the mistakes of other manufacturers. Ford will only invest when the market is more mature and profitable. Let Nissan/Renault, GM, Toyota etc, lose money creating a market which Ford can later exploit. Ford can no longer afford to be a pioneer. Ford no longer has the cash reserves, or the market dominance to waste resources developing engineering masterpieces, which don't return an immediate profit. This is a very frustrating situation for company whose Chairman was among the first of the EV adopters. However, the current policy will ensure Ford Motors stays on course to complete it's financial reconstruction and re-emerge as a leader in the automotive industry. in the meantime these small alliances, keep Ford in the game.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      While prohibitively expensive, a Power Stroke plugin would be sweeeeet, best of both worlds, and great fuel economy. At least someone's taking a step. Maybe in 6 - 10 years, we can get an F-Series diesel plug-in...
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is too bad that ford isn't doing this themselves, then they might actually take the time to put their truck in a wind tunnel do something about its horrible aerodynamics.
        • 8 Months Ago
        They did. The Tenth generation (1997–2004) F-series had curved headlamps and hood that looked much more aerodynamic. Now they've back to the ridiculous monster grille, but Ford claims they made aero tweaks to the back of the cab and truck, and below the bumper and the underbody. "The new F-150 4x4 is now best-in-class for aerodynamics and unsurpassed fuel economy in its segment. The new F-150 SuperCrew 4X4 with a 5.5-foot box has the lowest coefficient of drag – 0.416 – of comparable configurations. That’s 6 percent lower than a comparable 2008 F-150." 0.416 CdA and an enormous frontal area... shudder.
        Marco Polo
        • 8 Months Ago
        The F-Series has been the single most profitable model vehicle Ford has ever produced. It's a truck. Originally designed in an era of huge engines and cheap gas. It's looks appeal strongly to certain type of buyer who doesn't care about aerodynamics. Do you think Ford would sell more F-Series if they destroyed it main selling feature?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't believe that anything of that size has a front end like that in this day and age, it looks ridiculous.
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