Ford to spend $135 million to design electric-drive parts and double battery testing capacity

Article by Christian A., on August 17, 2012

Ford Motor Co. will be launching five battery-powered models in 2012 and is prepared to spend $135 million to design electric-drive parts and double battery testing capacity. In a statement, Ford revealed that the automaker is moving more battery research in-house. In the past year, 60 engineers have been hired, bringing the number of electric-vehicle engineering staff to over 1,000.

Ford said that these moves will help in limiting the cost of hybrid systems by 30% and hastening development by 25%. Joe Bakaj, Ford's vice president of powertrain engineering, said this new investment is aimed at giving consumers "faster access” to the newest and most remarkable fuel-saving technologies and vehicles from Ford.

The company expects its hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric cars to make up for up to 25% of its new vehicle sales by 2020, from less than 3% in 2011. Ford is competing in the budding market for electrified vehicles with Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co. and startups like Tesla Motors Inc. and closely held Fisker Automotive Inc.

Ford added that it is planning to hire "dozens" more of engineers focused on electric-vehicle development. In addition, it is renaming its 285,000-square-foot advanced engineering center adjacent to its headquarters the "Ford Advanced Electrification Center."

Electrified vehicles made up for 3.4% of the U.S. market in the first half of the year, a 2.2% increase compared to the previous year, researcher LMC Automotive said. LMC said that hybrids declined by 2.2% of the U.S. market last year, a 2.4% drop from 2010 and 2.8% lower than in 2009. Mike Omotoso, a researcher for LMC, said that Ford possessed only 4% of the U.S. hybrid and electric-vehicle market in the first half of the year, compared with Toyota’s 72%.

C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid are the two new Ford hybrids expected to set new fuel efficiency standards when they become available for purchase in 2012.

FOrd C-MAX Energi should outperform the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid in electric-mode fuel economy with an overall 500-mile drive range, which is also better than the Chevrolet Volt. The new C-MAX Hybrid is expected to reach better fuel efficiency than the Toyota Prius v.

Both Ford hybrids come equipped with the brand’s lauded power-split innovation that allows electric mode operation at faster speeds than all other hybrids.

C-MAX is the perfect car for this age because it is a combination of a traditional car’s quality and dynamism with a MAV’s versatility and fuel economy that not even Toyota can offer.

Ford C-MAX hybrids are headliners of Ford's reimagined range. In 2012, one third of this range will highlight vehicles with 40 or better mpg, further developing Ford's commitment to customers searching for fuel economy by giving them the power of choice.

Ford's plans for electrification in the near-term include a way to triple its electric vehicle production volume by 2013. The C-MAXs will be constructed on the global lFord C-segment base and will be two of five electric vehicles that will be launched in North America in 2012.

Topics: ford, electric car

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