Ford may not have a dedicated hybrid or EV platform, but it does have a new "Electrification Center of Excellence" down the street from its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford announced yesterday that it now has some 1,000 engineers devoted to electrified vehicles, most of whom work "under one roof" at the facility.

The 285,000-square-foot research and development lab used to be known as the Advanced Engineering Center, but has now been renamed the Ford Advanced Electrification Center. Ford has already hired 60 engineers to populate the effort this year, which carries a total investment of $135 million.

That's a nice chunk of change to spend on battery tech. But to put it into perspective, consider that General Motors admitted to dropping some $750 million on the Chevrolet Volt.

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Ford's Investment in Electrification Center of Excellence Delivers New Jobs, Better Fuel Economy, More Choice
• Ford now has more than 1,000 engineers working on vehicle electrification – its highest number ever; 60 engineers added in the last year, dozens more to be added in the year ahead
• Most of the 1,000 engineers are located under one roof at the newly dedicated Advanced Electrification Center in Dearborn, Mich.
• Ford is doubling its battery-testing capabilities by 2013, helping accelerate its hybrid and electric vehicle development by as much as 25 percent
• By developing more technologies in-house through investments in infrastructure and people, Ford is delivering more affordable and fuel-efficient vehicles to its customers

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 15, 2012 – Ford is adding new green jobs, doubling its battery-testing capabilities and speeding electrified vehicles to market by at least 25 percent, creating even more fuel-efficient choices for customers.

"The good news for customers is that they not only have more choice, but they have faster access to Ford's latest and greatest in fuel-saving technologies and vehicles," said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of Powertrain Engineering. "This stems directly from our decisions to deliver true power of choice by expanding our dedicated electrified vehicle team and further investing in our facilities."

Ford is investing $135 million in the design, engineering and production of key components – including advanced battery systems – for its next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles going into production this year.

For example, Ford's battery-testing capabilities will double by 2013 – to a total of 160 individual battery-test channels. This includes investing in more of the highly specialized machines that can test and simulate everything from power and performance to life and thermal behavior over a complete range of temperatures and possible operating conditions.

Also, Ford is dedicating a 285,000-square-foot research and development lab in Dearborn, Mich., to focus almost entirely on hybrids and electrification. The building formerly known as the Advanced Engineering Center is renamed the Ford Advanced Electrification Center and houses most of the 1,000 engineers working on hybrid and electrification programs.

Ford continues to build its electrified team with 60 engineers hired in the past year and dozens more positions to be filled this year.

Power of choice
Customers benefit from Ford's investments in two ways – more fuel-efficient vehicle options and even better value.

Ford is reducing the cost of its current hybrid system by 30 percent versus the company's previous-generation system. Plus, Ford is launching five electrified vehicles this year as part of its power of choice strategy to deliver leading fuel economy across its lineup and triple electrified vehicle production capacity by 2013.

The five electrified vehicles Ford is launchingfall in line with its goal of providing customers with power of choice when it comes to fuel-efficient vehicles. The five electrified vehicles are:

• Focus Electric: Production began late 2011; America's most fuel-efficient compact with 110 MPGe city; charge time of four hours with the available 240-volt charging station, which is nearly half the time as Nissan Leaf
• C-MAX Hybrid: EPA-certified to deliver 47 mpg highway, 47 mpg city – at least 3 mpg better than Toyota Prius v – and 47 mpg combined with more performance and technology, and all at a $1,300-lower base price
• C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid: Coming this fall; a projected electric-mode miles per gallon equivalent that is more than three times that of Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid per EPA testing methods; 95 MPGe; total range of 550 miles
• All-new Fusion Hybrid: Coming this fall; 47 mpg expected to beat Toyota Camry Hybrid by 5 mpg highway
• Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid: Will begin production by the end of 2012; aiming to be the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world
More information about Ford's electrified vehicle lineup – including press releases, technical specifications and other related material – can be found online here.

Ford remains America's largest domestic producer of hybrid vehicles. The company launched the Escape Hybrid in 2004 and Fusion Hybrid in 2010, with both delivering strong customer satisfaction and industry-leading fuel economy, driving dynamics and durability.

Battery-powered
Typical of the auto industry, Ford's early hybrids contained batteries that involved third parties in everything from design to testing.

As the scope of Ford's hybrid program expanded, however, Ford found new efficiencies by bringing research, development and production of electrified vehicles in-house, said Anand Sankaran, Ford executive technical leader, Energy Storage and HV Systems.

"Time is of the essence, especially when we have a specific launch date," said Sankaran.

Ford's doubling of its battery-testing capabilities is one example of how crucial time is maximized as the company no longer has to search for the right supplier with the right equipment to quickly perform specific tests.

The expanded battery-testing capabilities allow the team to quickly collect, analyze and apply vast amounts of data and – when needed – modify tests and easily adapt necessary changes. Projects are completed at least 25 percent faster than they were with previous-generation hybrids, Sankaran said.

Ford AEC: Past and present
The Ford Advanced Electrification Center, formerly the Advanced Engineering Center, is located within the company's Henry and Edsel Ford Research & Engineering Center, the 500-acre technical complex in Dearborn that opened in 1953 and serves as the home for research and engineering efforts.

It was constructed on the research campus in 1993 as part of an $84 million project that centered largely on noise, vibration and harshness testing with several state-of-the-art labs within.

That changed in 2009. As Ford's investment in electrified vehicles such as Fusion Hybrid increased, so did the size of the Sustainable Mobility Technologies team behind it, said Chuck Gray, Ford chief engineer, Global Core Engineering Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.

The rapid growth has not only brought together a large group of talented and smart engineers, it has brought together innovators from diverse backgrounds. Many have experience in aerospace working on jets, rockets, missiles, satellites and unmanned aircraft. One engineer even spent time in the driver's seat of the Goodyear Blimp.

"We know what it takes to build world-class hybrids and are building on that expertise," said Kevin Layden, director, Ford Electrification Programs and Engineering. "We're continuing to invest so Ford can continue to lead in the delivery of top fuel economy, durability and driving dynamics in our electrified vehicles."


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  • 68 Comments
      paulpaxteny
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am a loyal FORD customer -- they made us proud saying NO to Obama Bail Outs and for making it on their own without any taxpayer dollars. FORD is doing well while GM is floundering with lowest market share in 90 yrs, decline in sales, lower profits and now problems in EUROPE. Its good to see FORD investing their own money into electric autos. I would consider buying a FORD electric auto but would NEVER buy a GM electric auto.
        delsolo1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @paulpaxteny
        And yet you are silent on the four billion dollar yearly bailout to the oil companies. Why not boycott big oil?
        cpmanx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @paulpaxteny
        You mean the Obama bailouts that were begun by President George W. Bush? The ones that Bush takes credit for, and proudly says "I'd do it again"? http://bottomline.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/02/07/10342178-bush-on-auto-bailouts-id-do-it-again?
      Boogaloo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'll bet it's hard to steal an electrified car! :o)
      John
      • 2 Years Ago
      hmm, and not a penny of government (uh, taxpayer) money.....
        cpmanx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John
        Well, strictly speaking the plant that makes the Focus EV was renovated using low-interest government loans from the Department of Energy... www.freep.com/article/20120112/BUSINESS0102/201120601/Ford-not-GM-or-Chrysler-got-federal-loans-to-retool-plants
      wongtpa
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good for Ford. They should balance gas vehicles with hybrids and all electric vehicles. Offer a balanced option to the buyers.
      jlsntx
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here's some advice for Ford. Build the battery needed, then you can make billions just selling the battery and never have to invest the cash to build an electric car. Without a battery to give even half the range of a gasoline engine powered vehicle you are spending time and money with no hope of getting any return :-/
        skylinegra
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jlsntx
        Forget batteries. See Honda's FCX Clarity fuel cell car. Motors powered by hydrogen.
      christian.palumbo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yes, but in 1919 Ford had an electric car: http://firstelectriccar.com/ford-1919-electric-car-found-in-india/ the truth is that it was not convenient in th 1900 invest in the electrical infrastructure to supply the charge.
      Boogaloo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I bet it's hard to steal an electrified car :o)
        skylinegra
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Boogaloo
        Yeah, really, one things for sure, when the robber gets electrocuted, he'll sue Ford for not having a warning label on the car
      d
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, Ford invested $135 million out of the $650 million they have borrowed from the US treasury so far this year, at an interest rate of under .25%. I wonder what happened to the over $3 billion they have borrowed over the past three years from the US government that was meant to go towards advanced fuel vehicles. Surely an electric Focus doesn't coast a few billion to build. We aren't talking about a stealth fighter here. Yes Ford has been taking government bailouts, sorry near zero interest "loans". Just not the very public kind. Mulally had the right government connections after running Boeing. As a taxpayer I would really like to know where all the money went.
        rolanie3
        • 2 Years Ago
        @d
        Ford has already begun repaying the 3 Billion loan. Some probably went into development of the Ecoboost (Twin Force) line, but most of it was probably cushion money for when the auto industry crashed and no one was buying Ford products
        • 2 Years Ago
        @d
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          rlog100
          • 2 Years Ago
          Chrysler took loans. So I guess Chrysler didn't get a bailout?
          rlog100
          • 2 Years Ago
          Actually they took a Chrysler size loan from the DoE look over the DoE website. They also had their expensive mountain of privately funded debt replaced by the Fed Reserve with low (almost no) interest debt at every opportunity. If they default on that debt its the Taxpayers that are out the money. If GM had their debt replaced the same way they wouldn't have needed bankruptcy either and the taxpayers wouldn't have had to fork out $45 bln for that bankruptcy execution.
      Jesus!
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is good to invest in the future.
        SatinSheetMetal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jesus!
        The problem is no one really knows what the future of automobile motivation will be.
      Mr. McLendon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wonder how all these people are going to charge those batteries after Obama shuts down all coal production. Guess the government can put us all on bicycles then. Of course thats the change he talks about. Changing America into a 3rd world country.
        dusty754
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mr. McLendon
        Generating plants are using natural gas. Obama had nothing to do with it, it was the fact ( something republicans hate clouding their issues with) that natural gas is cheaper than coal. But I can see me having one of these electric vehicles and having solar panels on the roof that charge the batteries all day long. Not a problem. With an average of 300 days of sunshine, it wouldn't be a problem.
          Tom
          • 2 Years Ago
          @dusty754
          Natural gas is responsible for only 20% of electricity produced. Coal is responsible for over 57%. Obama stated for the record that he would make regulations so tough that coal would be priced out of the market. Go do some research before spouting random crap at us.
          HAT1701D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @dusty754
          Hey my good friend, a good portion of that natural gas comes from "fracking". Now, I don't mind the process. I used to build the frac trucks, skids and rigs and know how they work. That said, many, many people HATE it. Especially environmentalists. How long do you think it will be before natural gas prices start to go up because the technology used to find that extra bit of natural gas is either put in a bind or stopped all together?
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      I never hear about anyone investing in the infrastructure to support electric cars.
      mtman465
      • 2 Years Ago
      thanks ford for working on new stuff don't forget to keep the price down so we can afford to buy it.. Please get rid of Obama from office along with all of his problem children
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