OAK PARK — The California Air Resources Board approved up to $15,000 per vehicle in incentives for the Ford Transit Connect Electric for customers deploying the vehicle within the state, Oak Park-based Azure Dynamics Corp. (OTC: AZDDF) reported Thursday.

The CARB incentive is incremental to the U. S. federal incentive of up to $7,500 per unit, so the total Transit Connect Electric incentive in California can reach up to $22,500.

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The incentives are estimated to reduce payback on Transit Connect Electric in California to less than two years.

Azure Dynamics builds the all-electric drivetrain for the Ford Transit Connect Electric small van.

The new program, which is expected to be in effect until February 2012, offers up to $15,000 for the first Transit Connect Electric purchased by a commercial fleet or municipal fleet for deployment in the State of California.  Subsequent purchases of Transit Connect Electric vans will qualify for an incentive of up to $12,000, with a maximum of 100 vans per customer.

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Beginning in February 2012, the program will offer up to $12,000 for the first three Transit Connect Electric vans and up to $10,000 for subsequent purchases up to 100 vans per customer. Complete program details are available at www.californiahvip.org.

“On average, a Transit Connect Electric will spend about 10 years in service for a commercial vehicle fleet,” said Scott Harrison, Azure Dynamics CEO. “The new incentive, in combination with the operational and maintenance savings resulting from the EV powertrain, may significantly reduce the incremental Transit Connect Electric acquisition cost and provides customers with an attractive less than two-year payback. National and regional governments around the globe understand the value of increased deployment of electrified technology and the profound economic, environmental and energy advantages that the technology offers. Incentives are a first but crucial step in building this new transportation paradigm.”

The Transit Connect Electric is the result of a collaboration between Ford Motor Co. and Azure Dynamics. The Transit Connect Electric utilizes an advanced lithium-ion battery from Johnson Controls to achieve a range of 50 to 80 miles depending on auxiliary power usage and drive cycle and is rechargeable using either a 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlet.

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California fleets interested in adding the Ford Transit Connect Electric should visit www.azuredynamics.com to find a conveniently located participating Ford Commercial Truck dealership.