OAK PARK — The car rental service Hertz Corp. (NYSE: HTZ) will add five Ford Transit Connect Electric small vans to its fleet, according to Oak Park-based Azure Dynamics Corp. (OTC: AZDDF), the company that builds the electric powertrains for the Ford vehicles.

The five Hertz units will be deployed mid-November at multiple locations as part of Hertz Entertainment Services and Hertz on Demand car sharing.

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“Hertz Entertainment Services and Hertz on Demand customers have unique vehicle needs and the Transit Connect Electric is a perfect fit for customers looking for the latest in mobility solutions while also achieving best in class sustainability practices,” said Mark P. Frissora, Hertz chairman and CEO.  “We expect to deploy the Transit Connect Electric in our B to B programs for customers who need a light duty van with a high degree of cargo capacity as a part of their fleet solutions.”

Added Nancy Gioia, director of global electrification at Ford: “Since launching last year, a broad cross-section of businesses including utilities, delivery companies and even law firms have used the Transit Connect Electric to green their fleets. With its new Transit Connect Electric fleet, Hertz will allow even more businesses in a variety of new industries to experience 100 percent electric and zero-emissions driving.”

And Azure Dynamics CEO Scott Harrison said, “The value-add of working with a marquee rental company like Hertz is that multiple end-users will get behind the wheel and experience our Transit Connect Electric first hand. Although driving performance and cargo versatility will be familiar compared to the conventional product, our Force Drive powertrain runs entirely on electricity, producing zero tailpipe emissions, and will likely be the first electric drive experience for many of Hertz customers.”

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According to independent data, rental car companies collectively operate approximately 1.63 million vehicles in the United States.  As the economy gains traction, it is expected that U.S. rental companies will add vehicles to their fleets including fuel efficient ‘green’ vehicles.

Hertz Entertainment Services rents vehicles to various studios and entertainment companies that often choose to rent vehicles during periods of increased activity.  Hertz On Demand is a pay-on-demand car membership club based on hourly rental services.  The Transit Connect Electric program is a chance for both divisions to explore opportunities for the van’s inclusion in the fleet.

Hertz continues to improve the fuel economy of its vehicles through is Global EV eco-mobility program, which is championing an electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle mobility ecosystem that incorporates transportation options that minimize the impact of its operations on the environment and enables the company to continue consistent sound environmental behavior.

The Ford Transit Connect Electric utilizes Azure’s proprietary electric powertrain system and Johnson Controls’ advanced lithium-ion battery to achieve a range of 50 to 80 miles depending on auxiliary usage and drive cycle and is rechargeable using either a 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlet.  Commercial vans generally return to a central location at the end of each driving cycle making for easy overnight recharging.  Use of the Transit Connect Electric vehicles will also reduce fuel and maintenance costs, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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More at www.azuredynamics.com or www.hertz.com.