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Ford announces electric partnership for Transit Connect

Date: 11 October 2010

Ford has revealed a new partnership with Azure Dynamics that will spawn the new electric Transit Connect next spring.

The Azure Connect has a claimed range of up to 80 miles, top speed of 75mph and 28kW battery which fits below the load floor to avoid inhibiting load space, though payload drops by 150kg due to the extra weight.

"Only now are people starting to realise that vans are important - this is where the technology takes off," said Azure's European sales and marketing director Gary Whittam, formerly UK boss of Ford's commercial vehicle arm. "Business people understand that the biggest costs are fuel and maintenance, with this you're effectively buying the next period of fuel in advance." Whittam predicted that the adoption of electric vehicles will alter businesses' traditional change cycles for vehicles. "You need to run these vehicles for 8-10 years for maximum effect, not a three-year change cycle," he said.

Whittam said interest in the electric Connect has been "enormous", and he is speaking to customers across Europe. "Nobody's got any stats so no-one knows what the demand will be," he said. "We'll make sure we're open and honest with customers that use this - if their operation is not suitable [to electric vehicles] it's best to suggest they need something else."

"Ford has a global link with Azure Dynamics to provide global solutions for EVs," said Whittam. "We've tested the vehicle to 10 years, it's got to be engineered to the position where it looks and feels like a Ford product."

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