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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Automakers, buyers celebrate E-V van

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Automakers, buyers celebrate E-V van

Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

Michigan's electric car industry was celebrated Wednesday at an event at Azure Dynamics' Oak Park facility that brought together makers and buyers of Ford Motor Co.'s Transit Connect Electric commercial van.

Johnson Controls Inc. announced it has bought 20 electric Transit Connects for its corporate fleet; they'll be delivered by next summer.

JCI helped develop the electric Connect, which uses a lithium-ion battery built in Holland, Mich., by Johnson Controls-Saft. Azure makes the electric powertrain. And AM General, in Livonia, integrates the powertrain.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who advocates electric vehicles and the jobs they can bring to Michigan, drove one of the small vans.

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

The Transit Connect is the first of five electric vehicles, including hybrids, that Ford is introducing in the next two years, said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification.

"The collaboration we share with our suppliers on the Transit Connect Electric is a critical component," Gioia said.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100923/AUTO01/9230402/1148/Automakers--buyers-celebrate-E-V-van#ixzz10MMwtmuy

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