At the Detroit Auto Show in January, Ford announced that it would be bringing production of battery packs for its hybrid and plug-in vehicles in-house by 2012 in time for the launch of its next generation models in 2012. At the time Ford would only say that the production facility would be somewhere in southeast Michigan without giving specifics.

It now appears that the packs will be produced at the site of the defunct Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, MI. The plant had previously produced a variety of components including alternators, fuel pumps, injectors and wiper motors. It had been included in the spin-off of Visteon when Ford spun off its parts operations in 2000. It was later re-absorbed into Ford as part of Automotive Components Holdings (ACH) when Visteon was struggling to avoid bankruptcy several years ago. Ford tried and failed to sell the facility. and it has been closed for several years. In recent weeks demolition work has been ongoing at the site, perhaps in preparation for new construction. (Wrong plant, the Rawsonville plant is a couple of miles away from another ACH plant being demolished)

The packs are currently assembled by Delphi using cells from Sanyo. Ford will continue to source cells from suppliers will building the packs and battery management systems itself.

When Ford made its original announcement in January it said the combination of battery and hybrid vehicle production could create 1,000 new jobs in the area. That would certainly be welcome news to this region that has been particularly hard hit by the current economic recession. At this time Ford has not made a public announcement about the battery plant or responded to our request for comment. An announcement could come next week in conjunction with the SAE World Congress in Detroit.

Update: A Ford spokesperson declined to comment on the plant location, except to say that an announcement would be coming soon.

[Source: Detroit News]

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