Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD)(OTC: AZDDF) has completed its LEAD customer program for the Ford Transit Connect Electric by signing agreements with its final two LEAD customers: a Washington, D.C.-based governmental organization and a logistics organization that placed the single largest Transit Connect Electric order to date of 30 units.
The LEAD program allowed blue chip government and commercial fleets the opportunity to receive one of the initial 2010 production units of the vehicles, which are currently being shipped on schedule.
"These final two customers are well-known organizations that are enthusiastic about their Transit Connect Electric acquisition, but prefer to make the announcement at a future point," said Scott Harrison, Azure Dynamics chief executive officer. "The final two represent the government and commercial sectors and they are exactly the type of blue-chip organizations we had in mind when we created the LEAD program."
The LEAD customer program is now closed after achieving its objective of identifying ten premiere vehicle fleets to place early units in 2010 with volume orders for fulfillment in 2011. Those ten LEAD customers accounted for nearly 150 Transit Connect Electric vehicle sales. Moreover, the program created interest among target market sectors including energy producers, courier and delivery companies, utilities, private businesses and governmental organizations. The LEAD sales covered broad geographies with vehicle deployments planned in at least eight U.S. states and the province of Ontario. Vehicles will also be deployed in both Washington, D.C., and Ottawa helping to build on demand among federal government organizations and national policy makers.
"The LEAD customer program successfully targeted organizations that are critical to the increased acceptance and adoption of electric vehicles in North America," said Harrison. "From top to bottom, our LEAD customers appreciate the unique environmental and operational benefits of the product itself and they will be integral in helping the technology get to market."
With the LEAD customer program completed on-time and on-schedule, Azure will open its Transit Connect Electric ordering system to other interested fleets in North America. The company also has initiated its European Transit Connect Electric sales efforts and expects to announce initial European orders in the coming months, with European production scheduled to begin in August, 2011.
Commercial vehicle fleets are increasingly seen as the logical starting point for electric vehicles due to their typical drive cycles that often include travel on predictable, short-range, routes with frequent stop and go driving in tight urban or suburban environments. Commercial vehicles generally return to a central location at the end of a drive cycle making for convenient recharging over night.
To create the Transit Connect Electric, Azure integrates its Force DriveM electric powertrain into the award-winning Ford Transit Connect. Utilizing an advanced lithium-ion battery from Johnson Controls-Saft, Transit Connect Electric can achieve a range of up to 80 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of 75 mph. The battery is rechargeable using either a 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlet. Azure Dynamics will also provide its Force Drive electric powertrain for the Transit Connect Electric in Europe.