The Detroit News is reporting that the company that electrifies Ford’s Transit Connect Electric vans, Azure Dynamics, AZD, has filed for bankruptcy and suspended the production of the small battery electric van. Azure Dynamics announced that 120 employees, including 50 at their Oak Park facility just outside Detroit where AZD performed the conversions, have been laid off. So far about 500 Transit EVs have been made since late 2010. There is no word if the company will be able to restart production.
A Ford spokesman said, “Our priority is to ensure that Azure’s Transit Connect Electric customers continue to have support throughout their ownership experience,” but declined to say if FoMoCo is looking for a new producer to pick up production. AZD also produces the Balance Hybrid Electric, a medium duty hybrid truck based on the Ford E-450. Last year AZD said they had 2,200 orders in hand for the Transit Connect Electric, including a $112 million order from the U.S. government’s General Services Administration. The state of Michigan gave AZD a tax credit of $1.7 million over seven years and the city of Oak Park gave them an abatement on local taxes for 11 years to persuade the company to locate in Michigan. An AZD spokesman expressed optimism that the company would be able to reorganize under bankruptcy. “I think we really have a bright future,” he said. The Canadian based company will not be making a planned public stock offering. It doesn’t have enough cash to cover the cost of appealing an Ontario Securities Commission ruling concerning that IPO. In a statement the company said, “We wish to convey to the company’s stakeholders our terrible sadness at this outcome.”
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