2010 Ford Transit Connect - media event in NYC, May 2009Enlarge Photo
Electric vehicles are likely to see a gradual roll out over the next few years. Most of the first electric vehicles to take to the streets will likely be in the hands of corporations for use as fleet vehicles. We have already witness this trend with many current electric vehicles that are not yet available to the public.
AT&T is following the trend with its selection of the Ford Transit Connect, fully electric utility vehicle. AT&T has placed an order for two of Ford's upcoming vans and at this point is the first customer with orders in.
AT&T has previously stated that they aim to spend up to $565 million to convert portions of its fleet vehicles over to cleaner, alternative energy sources. The goal is to convert a large percentage of its fleet within the next 10 years. Taking steps towards the goal, the company has already employed CNG vehicles as well as a fully electric Newton delivery van made by Smith Electric Vehicles.
Now the company can add the Transit Connect EV to its growing list and become one of, if not the first Transit EV customers here in the states.
The Transit Connect EV is a joint effort between Ford and Azure Dynamics who is responsible for converting the vehicles to electric drive capability.
Source: Azure Dynamics Press Release
AT&T Becomes Lead Customer for Ford Transit Connect Electric
Vehicle is powered by Azure Dynamics Force Drive(TM) electric drivetrain
St. Louis, Mo., March 9, 2010 - Azure Dynamics Corporation today announced AT&T has agreed to purchase two of the first Ford Transit Connect Electric vans, the latest addition to AT&T's growing fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles.
The Ford Transit Connect Electric -- the all-electric version of the 2010 Ford Transit Connect, the North American Truck of the Year -- will be powered by Azure Dynamics' patented Force Drive(TM) electric drivetrain with an advanced lithium-ion battery from Johnson Controls-Saft. The vehicle, which goes on sale later this year, has a range of up to 80 miles on a single charge and will be rechargeable using either 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlets. It has a top speed of 75 miles per hour.
"Cleaner, alternative-fuel vehicles are the future of our corporate fleet, and the Transit Connect Electric represents a real breakthrough and will be a strong addition to our range of alternative-fuel vehicles," said Jerome Webber, vice president of fleet operations at AT&T. "It's exactly the kind of vehicle we envisioned when we mapped our long-term vision to invest up to $565 million to deploy more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles through 2018." AT&T currently operates more than 77,000 vehicles in its corporate fleet, including 15 gasoline-powered Ford Transit Connect vehicles AT&T began piloting in 2009.
Scott T. Harrison, CEO of Azure Dynamics, said the Transit Connect Electric project is in line with his company's mission.
"Our business is built on great technology, committed partners and customers who want to improve efficiency while reducing their environmental footprint," Harrison said. "The Transit Connect Electric brings all of those elements together in a single package and is exactly on target with our goal at Azure of 'driving a world of difference.'"
According to Harrison, commercial vehicles are ideal candidates for electrification due to typical duty cycle characteristics like predictable drive routes and a return to a central location each night for recharging. The zero tailpipe emission Ford Transit Connect Electric also will help protect air quality in the urban environments where it operates.