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.
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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 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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  • 48 Comments
      Justin
      • 3 Years Ago
      i don't think the grille is big enough.
        someone
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin
        At least it has a purpose - the radiators on the diesel versions need the air flow.
      Making11s
      • 3 Years Ago
      I really like this idea. It could save business owners lots and lots of money. However, I do hope Ford is working on their own plug-in systems. I would hate for their relationship with Azure to end like their relationship with Navistar which left consumers without a diesel option on the Super Duty.
      1guyin10
      • 3 Years Ago
      That puppy is going to be expensive. I hope it offers some real economic return. So far hybrid pickups haven't offered much of a gain in economy to offset the price increase.
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Many of these HD trucks spend all day driving back and forth on the same worksite. They might be put to work for 10+ hours a day, but they might only move 20 miles. Unfortunately they are almost always kept running. An EV/hybrid is only on when its actually moving, If it sits idle for 3 hours, it won't be using any juice. Using some kind of hybrid/EV technology could dramatically improve a contractor's costs by essentially running off of batteries for most of the day, and only having that diesel kick in when it really needs it. Bottomline is that this tech has the potential to improve the bottomline of many businesses.
        stclair5211
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        I agree. The problem is, like everything green, it costs way more. So you pay upfront and buy this or you pay later. Price out a F550 now. Ok, now add this new system. Ok, now stop coughing. Yeah it's a lot! I'd rather pay later, but that's just me.
          Hazdaz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @stclair5211
          Good short-term thinking there chief. /s That's one of the reasons we are in the mess that we are in today because no one wants to look at our long-term issues. The cost to implement hybrid/EV is getting less and less every year to the tune that some cars right now (Lincoln and Buick) can offer the same car for the same price if you choose the hybrid option or a larger gas engine. The difference between a loaded Fusion and the Fusion hybrid is under $1500. If the hybrid option on these trucks is priced anywhere close to the same level, only the worst run businesses wouldn't see that it could pay for itself many times over during that trucks life. $1500 added to the cost of a $60k is absolutely nothing... that's how much leather seats cost on some vehicles! Also a REAL businessman will look at his options and see that burning diesel 12+ hours a way with a truck that is just idling by and doing nothing is a huge waste of expenses. He would also know that a good percent of the time that HD truck might not be loaded down with tons of lumber/machinery/etc and instead might just be moving one employ from one spot to another. Why should that thirsty diesel engine even be turned on at those times when a hybrid powerplant can do the job then the truck is used for lightduty?
      Mike K
      • 3 Years Ago
      Badass!! Once again Ford is ahead of the curve.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        QAZZY
        • 3 Years Ago
        I wouldn't go as far as saying beating V6 diesel Audis (okay, maybe the Q7, a hulk of a vehicle), but those things have serious torque.
        HydraulicDragon
        • 3 Years Ago
        The only time you'll really get to use regenerative breaking on a highway is if you live in San Fran or Los Angeles. And I seriously hope you don't think they're going to offer the Ecoboost V6 in these trucks. They'll go small diesel way before they offer a weak turbo gas engine. It's just not good for towing compared to a diesel.
        Austin Mason
        • 3 Years Ago
        prius 0-60 10.6 audi q7 0-60 8.5 sec.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        brian
        • 3 Years Ago
        Shouldn't you be in Summer School?
        Mike
        • 3 Years Ago
        You type some of the most pointless useless information on this site. Your just a GM fanboi that tries to talk smack on Ford at any chance you get all the while making yourself look stupid and uneducated and everyone down votes you while laughing at you..... Ford is s serious player in the market, just deal with it troll..lmao
          Synthono
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mike
          To be fair though, you've got lots of warning that he's a GM fanboy, it's not like it isn't right there in his name. There wouldn't be a more obvious sign that he needs to be ignored if he suddenly started talking about the Panasonic Lumix camera.
        Christopher Meyer
        • 3 Years Ago
        i think your spelling of the world "boy" tells all anyone would ever want to hear from you.
        Making11s
        • 3 Years Ago
        isn't there some site that is blindly supportive of GM for you to post on?
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
          caddy-v
          • 3 Years Ago
          I've come to the conclusion that feeling sorry for stupid people is a waste of human energy.
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        google HYBRID and get back to us......
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Evan McMiller
        • 3 Years Ago
        You really need to quit reading whatever tinfoil hat websites you go to, pull your head out of your ass, and get with the times. Constantly calling republicans liars, apart from making no sense, has nothing to do with this article. Second, what the hell makes this an "unintelligent" vehicle? Many people need trucks, businesses depend on them. Do some people who have them not use them to their potential? Sure. But who cares. Doesn't make it an "unintelligent vehicle". I will never drive a truck but some people have to.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Evan McMiller
          [blocked]
        WillieD
        • 3 Years Ago
        Why is the F-150 "such a wasteful and unintelligent vehicle"? It's got the highest tow rating and payload in its class, available Ecoboost V6 with awesome power and decent MPG, it's well built, etc... Those are all attributes I hate to have in a truck. (That's sarcasm in case you are too dense to understand.)
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
        JaredN
        • 3 Years Ago
        Dan, you might want to actually read the article, chief. This is for Super Duty's. The F150 isn't a Super Duty.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JaredN
          [blocked]
        HydraulicDragon
        • 3 Years Ago
        So you're saying we should just eliminate F-150's altogether?
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a contractor that runs a fleet, I'm not sure that I would consider buying plug in electric trucks. We have some plug-in electric small equipment right now, such as street sweepers and scissor lifts, and they're a real pain in the rear end. You have to remember to plug it in when it isn't being used (which workers never do) and then you're stuck with a dead piece of equipment (which means I often have to replace it with a rented piece). The other issue is that batteries degrade over time. They might not go bad, but we end up having to replace them fairly regularly if we want the best charging performance, which isn't cheap to do. One has to remember that, in the construction industry, downtime can cost you a lot of money. We're talking millions if you don't meet contract dates in some cases. With that being the case, I'd rather just pay for gas than have to worry about the downtime that comes with having to charge trucks and equipment. I might consider it if swapping out batteries could be done like we do with cordless drills, because at least with that, we wouldn't have to worry about trucks being down.
        Making11s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        Even if plugging things in overnight is way over your head, it's a hybrid, so you can still use it if you forget to plug it in.
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        Paul...did you miss the word "Hybrid"?.....they will have combo drivetrains similar to the Escape hybrid and the upcoming C-max and utilize the strengths of bot electric AND Gas....the plug in part will just be to extend the electric only capabilitie, which once the electric side gets depleted the ICU unit will assist and charge along with regenerative braking/ stop start and the like. And considering electric drivetrains provide 100% of their torque from 0 rpms, I was wondering why this hasnt happened earlier. As for durability, I wouldnt worry...one only has to look up the Escape Hybrids performance as a NY Taxi for the ultimate referall. The ONLY thing I question is which transmissions will be utilized...I have a hard time grasping a CVT being used in Superduty configurations....
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      natron3030
      • 3 Years Ago
      That chrome front is so obnoxious.
      Oceanblue78
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think it is a good idea. And I care not what one thinks about the front of this truck, it's massive, it's in your face, it's chrome baby! Yeah! Only a truck person would understand. =)
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