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Fleet Briefing: Azure Bankruptcy Halts Ford Production; UPS, Smart Driving, Anti-Idling Kiosks

Azure Dynamics, supplier of the Ford Transit Connect Electric delivery van’s all-electric powertrain, has filed for bankruptcy protection. This temporarily halts production of Ford’s TCEs as Azure completes its restructuring plan, which will cover a service plan and warranty issues for all AZD vehicles in the marketplace, AutoblogGreen said.

Ford representatives told AutoblogGreen that Azure’s filing does not affect Ford’s overall EV and green-vehicle strategy and that its electric vehicle product plans remain on track.

Automaker Electric Vehicles International is launching a production initiative to deploy 500 fully electric return-to-base delivery trucks to replace diesel trucks, in response to Governor Brown’s executive order for the widespread use of zero-emission vehicles in the state. Beginning this summer, UPS will deploy 100 medium-duty EVI delivery trucks, the state’s largest-ever deployment of zero-emission delivery vehicles, EVI said.

EVI has also relocated its electric vehicle manufacturing operation to California from Mexico. Over the next two years, EVI expects that the initiative will eliminate up to 12 million miles of diesel emissions per year in the state, the company said.

The Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Brattleboro, Vt., is installing MediDocks anti-idling kiosks at its campus for ambulances — the first hospital in the nation to do so. The stations look similar to gas pumps, but instead of fuel, they provide a power source that keeps the vehicle’s battery-operated systems running after the engine is shut off. The power cord is connected to a duct on the ambulance, New Hampshire Sentinal Source writes.

Brattleboro’s project is a pilot to investigate if and how the system will work, and if it could be implemented at larger hospitals, Sentinal Source said.

Transit fleets can reduce fuel consumption on average as much as 18.7 percent, and save nearly $3,400 per vehicle annually, by engaging in fuel-efficient driving practices, according to SmartDrive Systems’ Public Transit Fuel Efficiency Study.

The report finds that the top 25 percent of drivers were able to improve their fuel economy from 3.87 mpg to 4.59 mpg within one month, a significant step for controlling operating expenses. The study evaluated several hundred transit buses and drivers in multiple U.S. locations, using SmartDrive sensors and recorders to give real-time in-vehicle feedback on driving maneuvers and idling.

SmartDrive also released a Eco-Driving Training Video for public transit drivers.

Photo: Azure Dynamics

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