Ford and Azure Dynamics have selected the AM General to assemble the Ford Transit Connect Electric Van for North American market.
AM General, the company that’s best known for producing the military-spec Humvee, will receive Transit Connect “gliders” (powerless vehicles without a conventional powertrain or exhaust system) from the Ford manufacturing location in Turkey, and Force Drive(TM) 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 Drive(TM) 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.