Azure Dynamics, Maker of Ford Transit Connect EV, Files for Bankruptcy

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Azure Dynamics, which builds electric-car drivetrains and an electric version of the Ford Transit Connect van, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The company laid off 120 employees in total, of which 55 were employed in Oak Park, Michigan.

Along with providing power for the electric version of the Ford Transit Connect, Azure Dynamics builds electric powertrains and battery systems for delivery vans, plug-in hybrid trucks, hybrid buses, and similar vehicles. The company was founded in Canada in 1997. In 2007, the company moved its headquarters to Oak Park, Michigan.

Azure Dynamics was reportedly forced into bankruptcy after failing to secure approval from the Ontario Securities Commission to sell stock. The company needed the cash as it lost $26.1 million dollars during the first three quarters of 2011. With the company in bankruptcy, production of vehicles has stopped, although Azure Dynamics will continue to supply parts for vehicles. There are currently only about 40 workers on the job.

"We fully intend to be back and moving forward, but we have to reorganize," Azure Dynamics' vice president of marketing Mike Ellwood told the Detroit Free Press. "We still believe that electric vehicles are a part of the solution going forward."

In early February, Azure Dynamics reported that it had taken orders for another 45 electric Transit Connects -- 20 in Europe and 25 in North America. The company has taken a claimed $32 million in orders for the electric Transit Connect.

This isn’t the first shakeup involving the Transit Connect and its conversion company. Ford originally partnered with English EV firm Smith Electric in 2009 to transform the Transit Connect into an electric van, but by the end of the year, both parties mutually dissolved the contract. Smith claimed it instead wanted to focus its capital and resources on its own vehicle development programs.

Sources: Detroit Free Press, Azure Dynamics

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