Ford is serious about increasing the “green”, i.e. hybrid and electric offerings, in its line-up. The first step is the launch of five new vehicles this year: the all-electric version of the Focus and the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the C-MAX people carrier and the Fusion mid-size sedan.
The Blue Oval has decided to increase its efforts towards the electrification of its fleet and speed up the time needed to bring new models to the market. To that end, Ford announced on Wednesday that it will invest US$135 million in the design, engineering and production of key components for its new hybrid and electric vehicles.
“The good news for customers is that they not only have more choice, but also faster access to Ford’s latest and greatest in fuel-saving technologies and vehicles”, said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of Powertrain Engineering. “This stems directly from our decisions to deliver true power of choice by expanding our dedicated electrified vehicle team and further investing in our facilities.”
The carmaker has renamed its 285,000 square-foot Advanced Engineering Center R&D lab in Dearborn the “Ford Advanced Electrification Center”. It will house more than 1,000 engineers and it will be the key to the company’s efforts in the field.
It will also double its battery-testing capabilities by 2013 to a total of 160 individual channels that can simulate everything concerning a vehicle’s battery-pack life. This will accelerate hybrid and EV vehicle development by 25 percent, reducing the time needed to bring them to the market accordingly.
Ford also plans to reduce the cost of its current hybrid system by 30 percent in order to make its cars more affordable.
“We know what it takes to build world-class hybrids and are building on that expertise”, said Kevin Layden, director of Ford’s Electrification Programs and Engineering department. “We’re continuing to invest so Ford can continue to lead in the delivery of top fuel economy, durability and driving dynamics in our electrified vehicles.”