Ford signs deal to bring Transit Connect to Europe

Azure Dynamic Corporation, which already produces electric and hybrid technology for shuttle buses and trucks in the US, will now focus on the Ford Transit Connect BEV in its first European project.

Scott T. Harrison, Azure Dynamics CEO, said: “We believe that European commercial vehicle customers will be eager to adopt the Transit Connect BEV into their fleets, to demonstrate their commitment to becoming part of the solution.”

The Ford Transit Connect BEV is set to arrive in the US and Canada in 2011 and Europe a year later. Ford also has plans to introduce a Ford Focus Electric in 2012.

Azure will also work with Ford to produce two next-generation petrol hybrid-electric models and a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle in 2013.

Azure’s Force Drive battery electric drive train will be used in the Transit Connect to extend the range to 80 miles on a full charge. The zero emissions driving capacity would take an estimated six to eight hours to fully charge via a 220V outlet.

The small commercial van will be made in Turkey in both right and left drive models. While Ford dealerships will look after servicing, the vans will be sold through Azure’s dealer network.

John Fleming, Ford of Europe’s Chairman and CEO, said: “We’re proud of Transit Connect as it has conclusively proved itself to be a versatile, adaptable and thoroughly dependable vehicle for real world commercial customers.

“Adding a practical, full battery-electric, zero-emission alternative to the range further demonstrates the enormous flexibility of this vehicle and gives customers the option of being among the first to adopt this environmentally friendly technology.”

The Ford Transit Connect was launched in Europe in 2002 and won the International Van of the Year award in 2003.