At the Detroit Auto Show in January, Ford announced that it would bring 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. At the time, Ford would only say that the production facility would be somewhere in southeast Michigan without giving specifics.

According to The Detroit News, it now appears that the packs will be produced at the site of the defunct Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, MI. The facility had previously manufactured a variety of components, including alternators, fuel pumps, injectors and wiper motors. Rawsonville had been included in the Visteon spin-off in 2000, but was later re-absorbed into Ford as part of Automotive Components Holdings when Visteon was struggling to avoid bankruptcy. 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.)

Ford's battery packs are currently assembled by Delphi using cells from Sanyo. the automaker will continue to source cells from suppliers while 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 the region, which has been particularly hard-hit by the current recession. A Ford spokesperson declined to comment on the plant location, except to say that an announcement would be forthcoming.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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