GE Helping UK Fleets Try Battery Transit Van
As RøhneSelmer Targets 400 Units Per Year
Pure battery Transit Connect Electric vans will be tested by fleets via GE Capital in England, where Azure Dynamics produces the vehicles in league with Lotus.
Separately, Azure’s Norwegian distributor RøhneSelmer is targeting sales of 400 of the pure battery EVs per year, through its own and other Norway dealerships.
“We see a lot of opportunities in Europe,” understates Scott Harrison, CEO of Azure Dynamics (Toronto:AZD).
In Britain, GE Capital has bought two Azure Transit Connect Electric vans to be offered to customers for evaluations ranging from a week to a month. The test program, expected to continue for at least three years, includes telematics equipment and axle weight sensors for optimum data-gathering. Fleet operators will be asked to provide details of how the vehicles are used, and what they think of them.
“For the first time, practical electric vehicles are becoming available to fleets in the UK and there is a great deal of curiosity among our customer base and the fleet sector in general about how they will perform in real-world conditions,” GE Capital’s Gary Killeen said in a recent published report. “This program is designed to give our customers a taste of how electric vehicles may fit into their fleet while allowing us to gather a mass of information about everything from practical range to driver perception,” Killeen said.
For Norway, Azure has publicized a letter of intent for distributor and dealer RøhneSelmer import and distribute as many as 400 Transit Connect Electric vans annually. “The LOI is not a purchase order, but rather sets in motion a collaborative effort to reach a definitive distribution agreement within the coming weeks to further develop the business in the Nordic Region,” Azure said.
29 and 29
In March, RøhneSelmer supported Azure’s inaugural European Transit Connect Electric sale of 58 vans, including 20 vans to Post Norway (Posten Norge AS) via its five locations in and around Norway and in August, 2011, placed an order for 100 additional vans.
Also in March, Azure said that the made-in-Turkey Ford Transit Connect vehicle would be fitted with Azure’s ForceDrive brand all-electric driveline by Lotus Lightweight Structures in Worcester, England, near Birmingham. Production started in May, advises UK sales chief Gary Whittam.
The battery Transit Connect has a Siemens AC induction motor, BorgWarner transaxle, lithium ion batteries by Johnson Controls, and an Azure Dynamics inverter. Vehicles for the U.S. are upfitted by AM General in Livonia, Mich.
Azure said on December 12 that global orders for the Transit Connect Electric exceed $29 million in value – and at the same time Azure announced 29 new sales: eight units in Europe and 21 in North America, including a three-van reorder from Johnson Controls, Inc.
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