• May 25th 2010 at 7:58AM
  • 17
Ford Motor Company has announced plans to invest $135 million into two of its Detroit-area plants, creating what the company calls a "center of excellence" for electric vehicles (EVs). The investment will be divided between the company's transaxle plant in Sterling Heights, MI and its Ypsilanti battery plant. Combined, Ford says, 220 new jobs will be created including 130 at the transaxle plant, 40 at the battery facility and 50 engineers to be split between the two sites.

Ford hopes that the new investments will allow the company to produce the majority of components needed for EVs in-house, thus eliminating the need to source transaxles from Japan and batteries from Mexico. The company plans to introduce five new hybrid or electric vehicles in North America within the next two years. By shifting production of components in-house, Ford will likely reduce costs, alleviate supply issues and have the ability to offer buyers a competitively priced product. Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, spoke of the decision in a statement:
Electrified vehicles are a key part of our plan to offer a full lineup of green vehicles, and we are building a center of excellence in the U.S., here in Michigan, to keep Ford on the cutting edge. Today's announcement is another important step in our larger strategy to launch a family of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles around the world.
Investment in Michigan is exactly what the state needs during these trying economic times. For Ford, the commitment to developing its own electric vehicles and necessary components is a huge step towards competing with the likes of Nissan and Chevrolet.

[Source: Ford]

PRESS RELEASE

FORD TO ENGINEER, ASSEMBLE HYBRID BATTERY PACKS AND TRANSAXLES IN MICHIGAN, ADDING 220 NEW JOBS

* Ford is investing $135 million to design, engineer and produce key components for its next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles that go into production in 2012 in North America
* Ford is adding green technology jobs in Michigan as the state becomes its center of excellence for vehicle electrification, including a combined 170 jobs at the Rawsonville and Van Dyke Transmission plants, and more than 50 electric vehicle engineers
* Ford's Rawsonville Plant will assemble battery packs for the next-generation hybrid vehicles, moving work to Michigan that is currently performed by a supplier in Mexico
* Ford's Van Dyke Transmission Plant will produce a new electric-drive transaxle for the new hybrids, moving work to Michigan that is currently performed by a supplier in Japan
* The new hybrids are part of Ford's plan to launch five electrified vehicles in the U.S. by 2012 and in Europe by 2013


SOUNDBITES: FORD INSOURCES KEY ELECTRIFICATION VEHICLE COMPONENTS

YPSILANTI, Mich., May 24, 2010 – Ford Motor Company – moving to create a center of excellence in Michigan for vehicle electrification – today announced it is investing $135 million to design, engineer and produce key components for the company's next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles.

Ford engineers in Dearborn will design the battery packs while engineers in Livonia will design electric-drive transaxles for the next-generation hybrids, based on Ford's global C- and CD-car platforms, which go into production in North America in 2012.

"Electrified vehicles are a key part of our plan to offer a full lineup of green vehicles, and we are building a center of excellence in the U.S., here in Michigan, to keep Ford on the cutting edge," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "Today's announcement is another important step in our larger strategy to launch a family of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles around the world."

Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., will assemble the battery packs beginning in 2012, moving work to Michigan that is currently performed in Mexico by a supplier. Ford's Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, Mich., will build the electric drive transaxles beginning in 2012 from a supplier facility in Japan. Ford is adding a combined 170 jobs at the Rawsonville and Van Dyke facilities to build these key components.

"I am proud of the tremendous success of the UAW and Ford in working together to keep good manufacturing jobs in the U.S.," said Bob King, UAW vice president, National Ford Department. "We are pleased that both Rawsonville and Van Dyke Transmission have been selected to produce these important components for Ford's next generation hybrid-electric vehicles. These new products will help the community and local economy in Michigan by creating 170 new direct jobs at Ford and hundreds of other supporting jobs in the community, while helping to reduce emissions that cause air pollution and global warming."

Center of Excellence in Michigan
Ford's creation of a center of excellence for vehicle electrification in Michigan now includes the design and manufacture of electrified key components as well as total vehicle manufacturing for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles. Ford is adding more than 50 engineers to work on electrification as we bring these technologies in-house. By physically bringing research, engineering and manufacturing closer together, Ford, its suppliers, universities and related industries can drive both innovation and job growth in this evolving form of transportation.

"We're working hard to make Michigan the center for electrified vehicle technology and production," said Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. "Today's announcement by Ford represents another step forward in moving Michigan from the Rust Belt to the Green Belt by investing in green technology and creating green jobs."
Ford's in-house team will design and engineer the advanced lithium-ion battery systems powering its next-generation hybrid vehicles. These battery systems will be designed specifically for the company's next-generation hybrids, including the new global CD-car platform hybrid and the new global C-car platform hybrid, which will be built at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in 2012.

To support battery pack assembly at the Rawsonville Plant, Ford will invest approximately $10 million in capital equipment and add about 40 jobs. Ford's investment also supports the necessary engineering and launch costs for the advanced battery systems.

"Southeast Michigan has the talented, skilled work force that can turn 21st Century visions into reality. I am delighted that Ford will expand its presence in our area with a new operation critical to the company's future," said U.S. Congressman John Dingell. These are the jobs that will revitalize our region, strengthen our environment and allow us here in Southeast Michigan to power the high-tech economy of the 21st Century. This is the kind of announcement that shows the green shoots of our economic recovery."

Hybrid Electric Drive Transmission
Ford also will internally design and engineer an electric, front-wheel-drive, continuously variable transaxle to supply its next-generation hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles in North America. Beginning in early 2012, Ford's Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, Mich., will produce the HF35 transaxle. Current model electric-drive transaxles are provided by a supplier in Japan.

To launch the new transaxle, Ford will add engineering and production jobs in Southeast Michigan, including about 130 manufacturing jobs at its Van Dyke facility, while investing about $125 million. The investment includes a grant received from the Department of Energy to help create green technology jobs in the U.S. This investment includes manufacturing capital equipment, launch and engineering costs and supplier tooling upgrades, all required to support the production launch of the HF35 transaxle.

Ford's Electrified Future
Ford's global electrification strategy includes plans to launch five new full electric or hybrid vehicles in the compact, midsize and light commercial segments for the North American market by 2012 and European markets by 2013. This lineup includes:

* The Transit Connect Electric light commercial vehicle in North America later this year and in Europe in 2011
* The Focus Electric in North America in 2011 and in Europe in 2012
* A Lincoln MKZ hybrid, available this fall in North America
* A next-generation hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle based on Ford's global C-car platform in North America in 2012
* A C-MAX hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric model for Europe in 2013

"Electrified vehicles are one part of Ford's broader strategy to offer a wide range of environmentally friendly transportation solutions designed to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions affordably for customers around the world," said Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of global electrification.

# # #

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 176,000 employees and about 80 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and, until its sale, Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com
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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 5 Years Ago
      There are more than 1 flavor of hybrids. A hybrid can be mainly an ICE car with an electric propulsion system for low speeds (like the Prius), or it could be mainly an EV with a range extender. I like both, and all variations in between. I think they are ultimately practical, and whichever vehicle best meets one's needs should be utilized. In my opinion (for what it's worth) they are the socially responsible solution to most peoples needs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Did anyone read the article. What's vague about it?

      Focus electric in 2011 is head to head competition with the Leaf.

      Ford's Electrified Future
      Ford's global electrification strategy includes plans to launch five new full electric or hybrid vehicles in the compact, midsize and light commercial segments for the North American market by 2012 and European markets by 2013. This lineup includes:

      * The Transit Connect Electric light commercial vehicle in North America later this year and in Europe in 2011
      * The Focus Electric in North America in 2011 and in Europe in 2012
      * A Lincoln MKZ hybrid, available this fall in North America
      * A next-generation hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle based on Ford's global C-car platform in North America in 2012
      * A C-MAX hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric model for Europe in 2013
        • 5 Years Ago
        Did you read the comments?

        The announcement indicates Ford is not going to be producing electric vehicles in volume for three years, and maybe not even after that. They have Azure Dynamics make the Transit Connect EV and Magna make the Focus EV drivetrain, both will be limited production. The two PHEV variants sound great, but Toyota has "had" a PHEV Prius since 2006 and Daimler an electric Smart "in the market" since 2008, heck Mazda has been leasing a hydrogen rotary hybrid minivan since 2008. "Launching", "having", "see our awesome web page", and "making" electric cars is not remotely the same as volume production of a car anyone can buy. I look forward to Ford proving me wrong!
      • 5 Years Ago
      They're JUST announcing it? There goes another 5-10 years...
      Pinokeeo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Forward with the electric car.If anyone can do it, Ford will. Good Luck.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is awesome! I do hope that Ford can provide new smoother and lower drag grills for this EV! This could help quite a bit for the highway range, in particular, and it won't cost hardly anything more than the ICE-based grills -- just mold the same plastic differently.

      Also, smoothing out the floor pan to get rid of the exhaust tunnel, would reduce aero drag and make the interior a little larger and more practical, too.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        well it could be awesome. there is an unfortunate ambiguity in their chosen word hybrid. hybrid can be the useless prius config which is a gas car and it can be a battery electric with a range extender which is so to speak the holy grail. two dramatically different options and Ford is disgustingly unclear about it. knowing car makers I am hesitant to say it's awesome because you can basically count on them to do everything wrong.
        Realistically I expect some moderate good to come of it but the text is not from a company that have fully awakened.

        as for the underside of cars, I am considering if a flat fiber sandwich plate is a good structural base for a car. it's flat of course, nice for interior design and it's a naturally strong structure. and should be inexpensive to make.
        by sandwich I mean two plates of fiber composite with a low density spacer between them. typically foam core but could be alu honeycomb or other. aided by two dorsill beams in the wheel wake, should be a good premise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The EV in the photo is a prototype that was used on the Leno show, the production model will likely be refined and improved over the prototype.

        Ford is planning both plug-in hybrids (using their hybrid technology) and BEVs, both should be successful.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Has the Magna deal gone sour? Or has Ford realized that EVs are not just some fad, but the way of the future due to inevitable rising gas prices?

      I think the popularity of the GM Volt and the Nissan Leaf has smacked some reality into these companies.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Ford press release says they're doing two PHEVs in-house in 2012 and 2013. Nothing new about EV-only cars, except they now have more in-house capability to do them.

        I imagine it would be difficult to bring the Focus EV in-house from Magna, and it wouldn't enable them to increase production for a while. You can't just add a zero to your orders for 500 battery packs and rectifiers and motors. We're not seeing BMW (Mini E), Daimler (Smart ED), Ford (Focus EV), or Mitsubishi (i-MiEV) respond to the Leaf with "We too have an electric car, you should order ours instead". That's why "trials" are somewhat irrelevant compared to production.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Re-read the press release. This is not about EV's. It is about hybrids. They use "electrification," which is confusing, but they are primarily using it in terms of gasoline/electric hybrids.

      The good news is this makes it look like Ford will move farther away from the Toyota-liscensed hybrid systems it has been using... which should mean more variety in the marketplace.

      Any investment Ford makes is a step in the right direction and should be applauded, but let's not blow this out of proportion. Ford has some catching up to to compete with GM in this area, much less come close to the Billions Nissan/Renault has invested in electric cars and batteries.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Of the total anouncement, only a portion of the 50 engineering jobs will work on research and development for fully electrical vehicles. The production jobs are for hybrid components. Ford is trying to make the most PR out of their announcement. While I support any investment, it is not a "huge step" toward competing on EV's as the stated above- the competition has been working on it longer and is investing more at a faster pace.

        For comparison, Nissan is breaking ground on its $1.4 Billion battery plant (more than 10 times as much of an investment- but in this case just for the production of batteries for fully electric vehicles) in Tennessee.
        http://www.dnj.com/article/20100523/BUSINESS/5230324/1088/Battery+plant+to+break+ground
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's about both EV and (plug-in?) hybrids.

        Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, it's not specifically about battery-only EVs. However, it is about " A next-generation hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle based on Ford's global C-car platform in North America in 2012". The PHEV could be impressive or underwhelming depending on range.

        Ford has patent cross-licensing with Toyota that as I understand it allows them to make a similar e-CVT on their own. If "Ford also will internally design and engineer an electric, front-wheel-drive, continuously variable transaxle" results in a better design than Hybrid Synergy Drive, that would be excellent, I'm tired of Toyota dominating.

        Renault-Nissan investments definitely dwarf everyone else!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with everyone. I like this particular article It gives me an additional input on the information around the world Thanks a lot and keep going with posting such information.
      ===========================================
      Best Ford Dealer
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is also good news for the ailing economy of Michigan. I hope more green technology investments will come about in the state as well as across the country to help get us out of this recession.
        • 5 Years Ago
        agreed. yay! sad that 200 jobs sounds so exciting, but all steps are good steps.
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