Ford Transit Connect EV Battery Maker Azure Dynamics Files for Bankruptcy
March 28, 2012 11:19 AM
The bankruptcy filing caused a halt in Ford Transit Connect production
While the electric vehicle (EV) industry seems to be moving forward in many ways, it has also experienced some setbacks over the last year. Unfortunately, many of these setbacks involve EV batteries, and now, Ford is in the same boat.
Azure Dynamics, a British Columbia-based EV firm, has filed for bankruptcy in the United States. Azure Dynamics is responsible for installing
the battery electric powertrain in Ford's Transit Connect
Azure Dynamics filed for bankruptcy on Monday, and was forced to lay off 120 employees worldwide. Layoffs occurred in Boston, Michigan, Canada and the United Kingdom.
In addition to layoffs, Azure Dynamics said it will no longer proceed with a planned stock offering because the company just doesn't have the liquidity to move forward with an appeal of a ruling that opposed its planned stock offering.
"We wish to convey to the company's stakeholders our terrible sadness at this outcome," said Azure Dynamics in a statement.
Azure Dynamics received a four-year contract from the Government Services Administration for about $112 million. The contract gave the U.S. military and government agencies the ability to order the
Transit Connect EV
, and Azure said it had about 2,200 orders. In addition, Azure was attracted to Michigan because of the state tax credit, which is over $1.7 million over a seven-year period, and an 11-year local tax abatement approved by the city of Oak Park valued at $55,400.
On Ford's side of the situation, the bankruptcy means having to stop production of the Transit Connect EV, and it's currently unclear if this situation will be temporary or permanent.
So far, Ford has produced 500 EV Ford Transit Connect vehicles since 2010, when it began its partnership with Azure. Despite Azure's recent news of bankruptcy, Ford is standing behind the company.
"Our priority is to ensure that Azure's Transit Connect Electric customers continue to have support throughout their ownership experience," said Wes Sherwood, Ford spokesman.
Azure definitely isn't the only EV battery company (or alternative energy company) to file for bankruptcy within the past year. In January,
EV battery maker Ener1 filed for bankruptcy
after its subsidiary, EnerDel, received a $118 million Department of Energy grant in August 2009. Other EV battery issues that have occurred recently include General Motors' Chevrolet Volt, which experienced a series of battery fires last year, and problems with Fisker Automotive's Karma plug-in hybrid batteries, which will be replaced entirely by A123 Systems Inc. for $55 million.
Other failed alternative energy companies that have filed for bankruptcy include
solar panel company Solyndra
, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the government despite warnings of Solyndra's viability, and
, which received nearly $43 million from the government in August 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in November 2011.
The Detroit News
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