Next-gen Ford Focus live unveiling – Click above for high-res image gallery
After unveiling the new Focus Monday, Ford made another announcement at the Detroit Auto Show about its battery plans. Like General Motors and other automakers, Ford has decided that battery technology (not necessarily including cell chemistry) needs to be one of its core competencies going forward. To that end, it will officially take over responsibility for development and production of battery packs and management systems for its electric and hybrid vehicles. Ford will also bring the hybrid transmission development and production in-house, starting with the next-generation hybrid launch in 2012.
This is a major change for Ford, which has previously relied on companies like Aisin for transmissions for the Fusion and Escape and Delphi for battery packs. Ford will invest $450 million in engineering and manufacturing and create 1,000 new jobs in Michigan. The new hybrid transmissions will be built at the Van Dyke transmission plant north of Detroit. Ford hasn't yet announced where the battery packs would be built.
The shift should help Ford alleviate the supply limitations it has experienced over the last several years with transmissions and batteries. A new hybrid and plug-in hybrid will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI, but vice president of powertrain development Barb Samardzich told ABG that it will not be the new Kuga-based Escape successor. It will be based on the Focus platform but could be an entirely different body style that we haven't seen yet. The press release is after the jump.
Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
FORD INVESTS $450 MILLION MORE IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES; NEXT-GENERATION HYBRID, PLUG-IN HYBRID AND NEW BEV WILL BE PRODUCED AT MICHIGAN ASSEMBLY PLANT
· Ford will invest another $450 million in Michigan as part of the company's aggressive electric vehicle plan
· Engineering, production and launch of new electrified vehicles, battery systems and hybrid transaxles will create up to 1,000 new jobs in Michigan
· Ford will build a next-generation hybrid vehicle and plug-in hybrid vehicle at Michigan Assembly Plant beginning in 2012 – in addition to producing the new Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Michigan Assembly in 2010 and 2011, respectively
· Ford will design advanced lithium-ion battery systems for the next-generation hybrid in Michigan and move production of battery packs from Mexico to Michigan
· State of Michigan tax credits enabled Ford's electric vehicle investment
DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2010 – Ford Motor Company today announced it will invest an additional $450 million in its aggressive electric vehicle plan, paving the way to build a next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle in Michigan beginning in 2012 and creating 1,000 new jobs.
This comes in addition to Ford's already announced plans to invest $550 million to transform Michigan Assembly Plant from a large SUV factory to a modern car plant to build the all-new Focus starting in 2010 and Focus Electric pure battery electric vehicle in 2011. With today's news, Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., will be the production site of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full battery electric vehicles, all of which will be built off the company's new global
"This investment underscores how serious we are about delivering a range of electrified vehicles to customers – including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles," said Bill Ford, Ford's executive chairman. "Our industry is at the intersection of three critical global issues –
the economy, energy and the environment. The winning companies will be those that address these issues with vehicles that are also exciting and fun to drive, without compromises."
In addition to building the Ford Focus Electric and next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid at Michigan Assembly Plant, Ford said it is bringing battery system design and development in-house.
Ford will design advanced lithium-ion battery systems in-house for the next-generation hybrid in Michigan and move production of the battery packs from Mexico to Michigan. The production site will be announced at a later date.
In addition, Ford has announced it will produce hybrid transaxles at its Van Dyke Transmission facility in Sterling Heights, Mich., beginning in 2012.
Partnering with the state of Michigan has been critical to the acceleration of the electric vehicle plan, Ford said. Today, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority board approved a package of incentives and tax credits totaling $188 million. The package includes job credits, brownfield site credits and battery pack assembly credits recently approved by the Michigan legislature.
"Vehicle electrification is part of our ongoing strategy to diversify Michigan's economy and make
the state a center for green and advanced manufacturing," said Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. "That is why we have worked so hard to invest in and encourage development of battery and electric vehicle technology and production in the state. We applaud Ford's leadership and commitment to Michigan and our transportation future."
Ford's electric vehicle lineup
As part of its aggressive electrification plan, Ford in 2009 doubled the number and volume of its hybrid electric vehicles to include the award-winning Ford Fusion and Escape hybrids and Mercury Milan and Mariner hybrids.
Going forward, Ford plans to bring the following electrified vehicles to market over the next three years:
Ford Transit Connect battery electric vehicle commercial van in 2010
Ford Focus Electric passenger car in 2011
Next-generation hybrid based on C-car platform in 2012
Plug-in hybrid based on C-car platform in 2012
First to market will be a pure battery electric version of the Ford Transit Connect, a small commercial van introduced in North America in 2009. Transit Connect Electric will have a targeted range of up to 80 miles per full charge and zero tailpipe emissions. With Azure Dynamics serving as upfitter, the first units will enter the market later this year.
The pure battery electric version of the redesigned Ford Focus follows in 2011. Focus Electric will have a targeted range of up to 100 miles per full charge with zero tailpipe emissions.
The next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles slated for 2012 also will be built on Ford's global C platform. These vehicles – not yet revealed – will leverage Ford's considerable experience with both its current hybrid lineup and plug-in hybrid fleet that is undergoing road testing with the company's utility industry partners.
A key component driving development of Ford's upcoming electric vehicles is lithium-ion battery system technology – the design, development and assembly of which Ford will bring in-house for its new hybrid vehicles.
"Battery system design and development will be a core competency for Ford in the 21st century," said Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of Global Electrification. "Building in-house expertise and leveraging our global scale is critical to developing electrified vehicles that are affordable, connected and fun to drive."
The future of electric vehicle manufacturing in Michigan
Ford's investment and the state's incentives will create approximately 1,000 new jobs related to the production of the company's future electric vehicles and the production of key hybrid components, including battery pack assembly. Most of those jobs will be created at Michigan Assembly Plant, which is being transformed to produce fuel-efficient, small global cars.
"Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant is quickly becoming a symbol of transformation on many different levels," said Jim Tetreault, vice president, North America Manufacturing. "Not only will the new facility enable Ford to meet increased market demand for small fuel-efficient cars, it also promises to become the hub of Ford's advanced technology vehicle manufacturing in Michigan that will benefit the company, the UAW, the state and our customers throughout North America."