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On Site: Azure Dynamics (TSX:AZD)

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Mike Elwood, Azure's Vice President - Marketing welcomes us to The Company's Burnaby facility.

Welcome to the first installment of Cantech Letter On Site. In this regular feature we get illustrated, visiting the head offices or production facilities of a Canadian tech stock and getting you behind the scenes of one of their recent press releases. In our first installment we take you to the Burnaby, BC production facility of Azure Dynamics. Founded in 1993, and now headquartered in Oak Park, Michigan, Azure develops and produces hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles. The Company’s partners include Ford, Siemens, and Collins Bus Corporation. Recently, Cantech Letter’s Nick Waddell dropped visited with Azure’s VP of Marketing to talk about The Company’s February 9th press release. That release, which is shown below, details Azure’s deal with Ford to power the new Ford Transit Connect Electric Vehicle.

A Ford Transit Connect Electric gets fitted with the AZD Force Electric drive system.

Azure Dynamics Force Drive(TM) Technology Powers New Ford Transit Connect Electric

CHICAGO, Feb. 9 /CNW/ – As increasing numbers of fleet operators and individual vehicle owners are demanding the benefits of clean, efficient alternative power for their vehicles, Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD) has collaborated with Ford Motor Company to introduce the Transit Connect Electric, a pure electric powered version of the 2010 North American Truck of the Year. The Transit Connect Electric makes its debut at the Chicago Auto Show tomorrow.

Azure Dynamics, a leading developer of hybrid electric and electric powertrains for commercial vehicles, is providing its patented Force Drive(TM) battery electric powertrain to replace the gasoline engine in the popular Transit Connect. 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. Azure has been designing and developing electric drive systems for more than 20 years.

Azure's Balance Hybrid Electric system being assembled onto the Ford E450 chassis. Many Purolator, FedEx and Canada Post delivery vehicles are built on this chassis.

“The Transit Connect Electric is an ideal vehicle for our Force Drive(TM) technology,” said Scott Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Oak Park, MI, based Azure Dynamics. “Force Drive(TM) is especially effective for fleets with predictable short range routes and frequent stop-and-go urban driving conditions that Transit Connect Electric vehicles are likely to encounter. We’ll be able to offer owners lower operating and maintenance costs and zero emissions in a vehicle that can go up to 80 miles on a charge,” Harrison said.

Wire harnessing for the Transit Connect Electric is laid out prior to installation.

“Fleet owners are demanding greater operating efficiency in cleaner vehicles. The Transit Connect Electric delivers on both fronts,” said Gerry Koss, Ford fleet marketing manager. “As the first product in our aggressive electrified vehicle plan, we expect the Transit Connect Electric to be an immediate hit and keep Ford squarely on track to leadership in the electric vehicle market.”

Force Drive’s(TM) lithium-ion battery, provided by Johnson Controls-Saft, is expected to last the life of the Transit Connect Electric and replaces all the energy provided by gasoline in the standard Transit Connect. When the vehicle is operating, battery power is provided to the drive motor through the electric powertrain’s motor controller which uses throttle input from the driver to convert DC power supplied by the battery into three precisely timed signals used to drive the motor.

Integration of the battery has been done without infringing on interior passenger room and cargo space and, other than Azure’s Force Drive(TM) badge on the exterior of the vehicle and information provided on the instrument cluster, the Transit Connect Electric will be identical to the standard Transit Connect vehicle.

Our gracious host for the afternoon, Mike Elwood, Azure Dynamics Vice President Marketing with the Ford Transit Connect Electric

The Transit Connect Electric represents a continuation of Azure’s ongoing relationship with Ford Motor Company. Azure’s Balance(TM) Hybrid Electric medium-duty commercial vehicle, a favorite delivery vehicle for a number of major national fleets including FedEx Express, AT&T and Purolator Courier, is built on the Ford E-450 cutaway and strip chassis as is the Balance(TM) Hybrid Electric shuttle bus.

“Our goal at Azure is to ‘be part of the solution’ and we think the Transit Connect Electric meets that challenge in every way,” said Harrison. “We’re delighted to be partnering with Ford on this product and we’re confident the market is going to be delighted with the result of our collaboration. It’s exactly the right product at the right time for today’s commercial vehicle market.”

For more information about Azure Dynamics and its products, please visit www.azuredynamics.com.

About Azure Dynamics

Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD) is a world leader in the development and production of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles. Azure is strategically targeting the commercial delivery vehicle and shuttle bus markets and is currently working internationally with various partners and customers. The Company is committed to providing customers and partners with innovative, cost-efficient, and environmentally-friendly energy management solutions. For more information please visit www.azuredynamics.com.

The TSX Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. More particularly, this press release contains statements concerning Azure’s business development strategy, projected commercial revenues and product deliveries.

The forward-looking statements are based on certain key expectations and assumptions made by Azure, including expectations and assumptions concerning achievement of current timetables for development programs, target market acceptance of Azure’s products, current and new product performance, availability and cost of labour and expertise, and evolving markets for power for transportation vehicles. Although Azure believes that the expectations and assumptions on which the forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements because Azure can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks. These include, but are not limited to, the risks associated with Azure’s early stage of development, lack of product revenues and history of losses, requirements for additional financing, uncertainty as to commercial viability, uncertainty as to product development and commercialization milestones being met, uncertainty as to the market for Azure’s products and unproven acceptance of Azure’s technology, competition for capital, product market and personnel, uncertainty as to target markets, dependence upon third parties, changes in environmental laws or policies, uncertainty as to patent and proprietary rights, availability of management and key personnel, and acquisition integration risk. These risks are set out in more detail in Azure’s annual information form which can be accessed at www.sedar.com.

The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and Azure undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable securities laws.

For further information: ON AZURE, CONTACT: Mike Elwood, Vice President – Marketing, (416) 953-4134, Email: melwood@azuredynamics.com; Patrick Liebler, Liebler Group, (248) 229-4418, Email: pat@lieblergroup.com

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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