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Governor Granholm Hails Collaborative Effort to Produce Ford's New Transit Connect Electric Van

September 22, 2010

Ford, Azure Dynamics, Johnson Controls-Saft, AM General team to deliver finished product

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today drove one of the first Ford Transit Connect electric vans at Azure Dynamics' Oak Park facility, hailing the collaboration between four Michigan companies that successfully delivered the vehicle to market.

"The collaboration between Ford, Azure Dynamics, Johnson Controls-Saft and AM General shows that Michigan is rapidly becoming a center for electric vehicle development," Granholm said.  "Our efforts to increase clean energy manufacturing in Michigan are diversifying the economy and creating jobs."

Azure Dynamics is a leading developer and supplier of electric and hybrid powertrains for medium to heavy-duty applications.  Its ForceDrive electric powertrain technology has helped the company secure contracts with leading fleet operators such as Fed Ex, AT&T, Cintas and Li-Ion Motors, recent winner of the Progressive Automotive X-PRIZE.

The Ford Transit Connect is powered by Azure's ForceDrive electric powertrain, which uses an advanced lithium-ion battery created in Holland by Johnson Controls-Saft.  Ford then ships the Transit Connect "gliders" to AM General's assembly facility in Livonia, where Azure's powertrains are integrated into the gliders.  All completed vehicles will be shipped directly to customers across North America.

"The Transit Connect and the companies that produce it highlight the importance of public-private partnerships as well as the success we've had creating dynamic industry clusters that create significant local economic activity," Granholm said.  "The development of the advanced battery sector has drawn more suppliers to Michigan who, in turn, can collaborate on projects outside their normal business, leading to more job-creation and additional investment."

The Ford Transit Connect can achieve a range of up to 80 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of 75 miles per hour.  The battery is rechargeable using either a 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlet.  The Transit Connect vehicle will eliminate gasoline costs for vans that drive predictable short-range routes and return to a central location for overnight charging.

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