2010 Ford Transit Connect - media event in NYC, May 2009Enlarge Photo
Ford and Smith Electric Vehicles had planned to jointly produce a BEV version of the Ford Transit Connect for a scheduled release next year ahead of the companies Focus EV. The partnership was such that Ford would provide the rolling chassis and Smith Electric would install the EV components. Now, both companies mutually agreed to go separate ways.
Smith Electric Vehicles will instead focus their efforts on the Newton EV and larger variants of the Newton EV commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, Ford has enlisted the help of Azure Dynamics to produce the Transit Connect EV. Ford has ongoing relations with Azure Dynamics. The company currently utilizes Ford's E450 chassis to produce hybrid shuttle buses.
According to the Tanfield Group, parent company of Smith Electric, the projected volume of the Transit Connect EV in the short and medium term did not justify their required investment and time. Smith Electric's limited resources and small production facility partially swayed their decision as the company simply has no development and production facility large enough to house both the Newton EV and Transit EV. With a 255 unit backlog on the Newton, Smith Electric is already falling behind.
There is no word at this time as to whether or not the Transit Connect EV will still go on sale at its previously scheduled time. With a new partner in Azure Dynamics already selected, it's likely that Ford will be able to keep to its release schedule.