Years ago, Magna International Inc. decided to diversify its company by expanding into electric only vehicles. They sourced companies that were versed in electric drivetrains, and decided on the Ford Focus as the vehicle that would represent their achievements in a battery electric vehicle.
Magna began the process of producing a battery electric powertrain for the Ford Focus and was told to keep Ford posted on the results. This project has been ongoing since 2007. Magna successfully converted the Focus into a battery electric vehicle called a BEV and Ford became a partner.
Since the partnership, Ford has assisted Magna in packaging the system into the Focus and has supplied Magna with all resources from its current hybrid electric program. The vehicle is a sucess and recently, several test mules have been developed.
The BEV contains an electric traction motor, transmission, motor controller, energy storage system and battery charger that were entirely engineered and designed by a team of engineers at Magna's facility in Troy, Michigan.
Magna recently acquired a company called BluWav Systems LLC, in October of last year and they have helped on the project by contributing their knowledge of electric and battery systems to the project.
This joint venture has produced six test vehicles that are on the road today with possible production plans for the future. The BEV is powered by a lithium ion cell that used a prismatic cell technology rather than the more traditional cylindrical cell technology. This technology cuts down on the size of the battery and allows more efficient packaging. The supplier of the battery has not been disclosed.
The project has been sucessful to date and gives Ford experience with battery electric vehicles. A second generation BEV is expected to be released for testing by the end of the summer.
Sources indicate that the BEV will go into production and be on sale as early as 2011. Ford and Magna expect a modest sales volume of 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles annually.