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EV development boost by Ford

Power on: The Ford Motor Co is investing heavily in its hybrid electric vehicle range, including the Focus Electric hatch (left).

Ford continues boosting numbers of specialist electric vehicle engineers in the US

17 Aug 2012

FORD Motor Co is planning to add “dozens” of engineers to work on electric cars, hybrids and plug-in hybrid vehicles at its newly dedicated Advanced Electrification Centre in Dearborn, Michigan, having added 60 in the past 12 months to take the total number beyond 1000.

The US auto giant announced this week it is investing $US135 million ($A141.4m) in the design, engineering and production of key components – including advanced battery systems – for its new-generation hybrid-electric vehicles going into production this year.

The company also said it would double its battery-testing capabilities by 2013, helping to accelerate its hybrid and electric vehicle development by as much as 25 per cent, and that the move to bring more hi-tech work in-house would make the end products more affordable.

Ford vice-president of powertrain engineering Joe Bakaj said the investment in both “infrastructure and people” would give buyers more choice and faster access to Ford’s latest fuel-saving technologies and dedicated eco-cars.

“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,” he said.

Formerly known as the Advanced Engineering Centre, the Ford Advanced Electrification Centre is a 26,480-square-metre research and development lab that focuses almost entirely on hybrid and electrification, with most of Ford’s 1000 EV engineers working there.

It is located within the company’s 500-acre Henry and Edsel Ford Research and Engineering Centre, which is the home base for the Blue Oval brand’s research and engineering work.

Ford aims to triple its production of electrified vehicles this year.

It has launched the Focus Electric and C-Max hybrid in the US and will soon enter the market with the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. A conventional hybrid and plug-in version of the mid-size Fusion is also coming later this year.

The Focus Electric is likely to be Ford’s first EV in Australia, although its launch here is dependent on an Asia Pacific-wide rollout that would not take place until after the model’s planned European debut next year.

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