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.
By combining car-like driving dynamics with truck-like cargo capacity, Ford Transit Connect Electric is well-suited to the demands placed on urban delivery vehicles for small businesses and larger, corporate fleets.
The Transit Connect Electric is expected to offer lower cost of operation because recharging with electricity is generally less expensive than refueling with gasoline. Additionally, customers will benefit from lower maintenance costs as the electric drive train has far fewer moving parts to maintain.
"Ford Transit Connect was first introduced in the U.S. last year as a new fuel efficient alternative to larger commercial vehicles. Adding the electric option addresses a growing demand from our customers for sustainable vehicles for their fleets," said Gerry Koss, Ford fleet marketing manager. "This Transit Connect Electric represents the first in a family of electrified vehicles, including new hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all battery electric vehicles, which Ford will deliver over the next three years."
AT&T plans to take delivery of the Transit Connect Electric in late 2010.
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 various 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.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 198,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world's most advanced IP-based business communications services, the nation's fastest 3G network and the best wireless coverage worldwide, and the nation's leading high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of their three-screen integration strategy, AT&T operating companies are expanding their TV entertainment offerings. In 2009, AT&T again ranked No. 1 in the telecommunications industry on FORTUNE®magazine's list of the World's Most Admired Companies. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.
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