AM General to Assemble Electric Transit Connect Vans
By Chris Haak
AM General Corporation, best known as the builder of the US military’s Humvee, as well as the former civilian Hummer H1 and H2 SUVs, has been awarded a contract to assemble the electric variants of the Ford Transit Connect. Of note, however, is that AM General assembled Hummers in Indiana, not in Michigan. So while the interesting angle that the former maker of the worst gas guzzlers is about to build vehicles that use no gasoline, note that we’re not talking about the same production facility.
Unlike the way it built the H1 and H2, AM General will not build the vans from a pile of parts. Instead, so-called “gliders” (vans without engines, transmissions, or exhaust systems) will be shipped to the facility from Turkey, where other US-bound Transit Connects are produced. The powertrain-less Transit Connects will be paired with electric powertrains from Azure Dynamics.
AM General will put the vans together at its Livonia, Michigan facility. Tier One supplier Johnson Controls will provide Azure Dynamics with battery packs and cells for the powertrain. The electric Transit Connect will enter limited production later this year, and will see greater volume production during 2011.
Depending upon pricing and the application for which the van is being considered, a no-gasoline variant of the Transit Connect may be just the ticket for small businesses who need the utility of a van, but don’t drive a lot of miles during the week, thus hopefully limiting “range anxiety” in a way that otherwise would not be possible without limiting daily mileage. The Transit Connect BEV has a publshed range of 80 miles on a full charge; for more information about this vehicle, click here to download the PDF fact sheet.