Ford's retooled Michigan Assembly Plant in the city of Wayne is now home to one of the largest solar arrays in all of Michigan. Detroit Edison, Xtreme Power and the state have teamed up with Ford to install a 500-kilowatt solar array along with a 750-kilowatt battery system with 2 megawatt-hours of energy – enough to power 100 average homes in Michigan for a year. The solar setup powers production of the Focus and Focus Electric and sends excess energy back to the grid.
Not too long ago, Ford's storied Michigan Assembly Plant cranked out oversized SUVs. Now, after a $550-million investment, Ford's 50-plus-year-old factory has been converted into one of the company's most modern facilities in the world and the only one capable of churning out fuel-efficient gas-powered cars and three production versions of electrified vehicles: a battery-powered compact, an upcoming gas-electric and a plug-in hybrid.
Ford Canada chief executive officer, David Mondragon, told a group of people attending a business luncheon at a Toronto-area hotel that electric vehicles (EVs) will account for the slimmest fraction of the market by 2020. Mondragon explains that consumers may opt for more fuel-efficient cars if gas prices creep up, but, he said, buyers will not embrace EVs unless either a dramatic shift in behavior occurs, or prices of battery-powered vehicles drop substantially.
Workers building pre-production 2012 Ford Focus – Click above for high-res image gallery