Click the Focus EV "mule" for a high res gallery
You may have heard on the news recently about President Obama's big plan to help auto suppliers. While the OEMs generate most of the auto news headlines, suppliers are a huge part of the auto industry. CNN offers a good story on how the strides that supplier Magna International has made in developing a lot of electric vehicle technology helps not only Ford, which is working with Ford on the Focus-based electric car that's due in 2011, but also the rest of the auto industry. To showcase its progress, Magna International's contract manufacturing unit, Magna Steyr, unveiled the Mila EV in Geneva recently (see gallery below and read more here).
After two years of electric vehicle talks, Magna showed Ford the Focus EV prototype last August, impressing people like Nancy Gioia, Ford's Director of Sustainable Mobility. After looking at all of the work that Magna had done, Ford was able to figure out what it will take to bring a car like this to market. And, because the Ford deal is not exclusive, Magna says it can design an EV for other OEMs. The result? Cheaper EVs from more manufacturers on a quicker timetable than it would take if everyone was designing them independently, Magna says.
Lastly, to stir the pot a bit, here's a quite from the article by industry analyst Bill Pochiluk: "This vehicles [sic] makes you wonder: why do we need the Volt?" Thanks to Paul S. for the tip!