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Friday, October 30, 2009

Ford team up with Azure to produce EV Transit

Ford Motor Company announced today that Azure Dynamics Corporation has joined in a collaborative effort to deliver a pure battery electric Ford Transit Connect van for the United States and Canadian markets in 2010. Azure will integrate its Force Drive(TM) battery electric drive train in the Transit Connect van for commercial fleet and retail use.

The collaboration with Azure Dynamics for the Transit Connect BEV will build
on the existing business relationship between Ford and Azure as well as their
shared experience with battery supplier, Johnson Controls-Saft.

"We recognize an increasing interest in electrified vehicles and have an
aggressive strategy to bring these vehicles to the marketplace," said Nancy
Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. "Our work with Azure to
create a pure electric battery Transit Connect vehicle will allow us to offer
our commercial customers an additional option for environmentally friendly

The Transit Connect BEV will be built on Ford's global commercial vehicle
platform as part of the company's One Ford global product vision. It is the
first of four electrified vehicles from Ford that will become available over
the next three years in the U.S. and Canada including:

-- Battery electric Transit Connect van in 2010
-- Battery electric Ford Focus passenger car in 2011
-- Next generation hybrid vehicle in 2012
-- Plug-In hybrid vehicle in 2012

Collaboration builds on existing business relationship Azure Dynamics develops hybrid electric and electric drive technology for shuttle buses and commercial trucks, such as the Balance(TM) Hybrid Electric,which is built on the Ford E-450 cutaway and strip chassis for the medium duty commercial vehicle segment.

"The opportunity to work with Ford on the Transit Connect BEV is a
breakthrough advancement for us at Azure and for the light commercial vehicle
market," said Scott Harrison, Azure Dynamics CEO. "For Azure, it's an
important evolution of our existing relationship with Ford. From an industry
standpoint, we are seeing delivery fleet and utility vehicle operators move to
smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. The Transit Connect BEV will come to
market at an ideal time to meet this growing trend."

Oak Park, Mich.-based Azure Dynamics will integrate its proprietary Force
Drive(TM) battery electric drive train into the Transit Connect BEV, which
will have a targeted range of 80 miles minimum on a full charge and zero
tailpipe emissions. Force Drive(TM) components have previously been deployed
in more than 40 vehicle integrations and have more than 25 million miles of
on-the-road experience. The Transit Connect BEV will offer fleet owners the
opportunity to eliminate the use of gasoline and help to lower operating
costs. The vehicle will be badged with both the Ford Blue Oval and Azure's
Force Drive logo.

Azure Dynamics has selected Johnson Controls-Saft as the supplier for
lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs for the Transit Connect BEV. Azure Dynamics and Ford both currently utilize Johnson Controls-Saft battery technology for other products. The Transit Connect BEV will use the same proven cell technology that is currently deployed in the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid fleet that is on the road today.

In addition, Azure had previously announced it would use Johnson Controls-Saft
lithium-ion batteries for its E- 450 Balance Hybrid Electric beginning in the
second half of 2010. The shared supplier business relationship is expected to
provide additional synergy between Ford and Azure in the Transit Connect BEV

Transit Connect commercial platform ideal choice for battery electric power
The Ford Transit Connect already is a proven global success. Ford introduced
the gasoline-engine Transit Connect to North America this year. With a unique
combination of car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and
low purchase and operation costs, it is an ideal choice for electrification.
Commercial users often travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent
stop and go driving in urban and suburban environments. For customers seeking
sustainable mobility solutions, the Transit Connect Battery Electric Vehicle
with Azure Force Drive(TM) will provide a zero emissions option.

The Transit Connect was designed, engineered and manufactured on a dedicated
global commercial vehicle platform to beat tough commercial vehicle durability
standards. The final manufacturing location for the Transit Connect BEV has
not yet been determined.

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