Ford Reiterates Commitment To Plug-in Hybrid, Electric Cars

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The 2012 Ford Focus Electric and 2013 Fusion Energi on Jay Leno's Garage

The 2012 Ford Focus Electric and 2013 Fusion Energi on Jay Leno's Garage

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Despite a cautious rollout of its plug-in car program and low sales of its 2012 Ford Focus Electric, Ford has reiterated details of  its investment in plug-in cars. 

According to Ford’s official release, it has now earmarked $135 million to double its battery testing facilities, triple plug-in vehicle production capacity, and speed up the introduction of its plug-in vehicles to market. 

By 2013, Ford says it will have a total of 160 individual battery test channels, including ones that not only test the performance capabilities of new battery packs, but their ability to withstand extremes of temperature. 

Part of the funding will be spent on repurposing a 285,000-square-foot research and development laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan, which Ford says will be dedicated “almost entirely” to developing hybrid and plug-in cars. 

Ford C-Max Energi, first revealed at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

Ford C-Max Energi, first revealed at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

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The building in question -- Ford's current Advanced Engineering Center -- will be renamed the Advanced Electrification Center, and become home to some 1,000 hybrid and plug-in vehicle engineers. 

It's worth noting however, that the majority of those engineers already work for Ford and are just being moved to a central location. Only 70 of those 1,000 engineers are new to the firm. 

With the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid due to launch later this year, Ford is keen to take on both Chevrolet’s Volt and Toyota’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid in the rising plug-in hybrid market. 

But with sales of its Ford Focus Electric still low -- and Ford itself admitting that it expects to build no more than 5,000 cars -- don’t expect to see Ford’s investment leaning towards all-electric cars just yet. 

The cautious, and more likely, route is that we’ll see Ford focus on its plug-in hybrid cars, like the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi and 2013 Ford Fusion Energi.


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Comments (6)
  1. We won't hold our breath when it comes to Ford's commitment to 100% EVs. Token compliance vehicles, high prices, and publicity does not demonstrate a real commitment.

  2. So, please enlighten me.

    In less than 6 months, you can go into a Ford dealership in all 50 states and Canada and have your choice of 2 world-class hybrids, 2 PHEV's, and a BEV.

    Can you please name another "more committed" manufacturer who will offer you those choices??

  3. I wonder if Ford was waiting to see how the Volt hydrid vs Leaf all electric competition played out before fully committing to a technology?

  4. No. It takes around 3 years to create a new product, and longer if you are dealing with new technology such as PHEV and BEV where there was no actual on-the road experience. What we see now was planned 3 or more years ago and represents what Ford's electrification strategy was at the time. Of course all companies follow their competiton closely, and Ford knew of the Volt and Leaf early on.

  5. I will believe it when I see it.

    I think Ford is more invested in "hybrids" than "plugins/EV"...

  6. Ford has been very consistent in its electrification strategy. They project higher levels of electrification (ranging from stop-start to full EV's) in their future plans but the phase-in is later than Nissan. It turns out from a business standpoint they might be right.

    Ford won't be getting into basic cell chemistry, but this latest announcement shows they are concentrating on reducing product development cycle time for new innovation.

    Ford has said they estimate total worldwide volume for each of their plug-in models at 5-10,000 upa, with the majority in North America. There are no limits on Energi PHEV production as far as I know; the upper bound on the FFE is around 20-25k upa before breaking bottlenecks.

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