Ford Motor Company, moving to create a center of excellence =32705″>investing $135 million to design, engineer and produce key components for the company’s next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles.

Ford engineers in Dearborn, Michigan will design the Li-ion battery packs while engineers in Livonia, Michigan will design and engineer an electric, front-wheel-drive, continuously variable transaxle (the HF35) to supply its next-generation hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles in North America.

Ford’s Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., will assemble the battery packs beginning in 2012, moving work to Michigan that is currently performed in Mexico by a supplier. To support battery pack assembly at the Rawsonville Plant, Ford will invest approximately $10 million in capital equipment and add about 40 jobs. Ford’s investment also supports the necessary engineering and launch costs for the advanced battery systems.

Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, Mich., will build the electric drive transaxles beginning in 2012. Current model electric-drive transaxles are provided by a supplier in Japan. Ford is adding a combined 170 jobs at the Rawsonville and Van Dyke facilities to build these key components.

Ford will invest about $125 million at its Van Dyke facility. The investment includes a grant received from the Department of Energy to help create green technology jobs in the US. This investment includes manufacturing capital equipment, launch and engineering costs and supplier tooling upgrades, all required to support the production launch of the HF35 transaxle.

Ford’s creation of a center of excellence for vehicle electrification in Michigan now includes the design and manufacture of electrified key components as well as total vehicle manufacturing for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles. Ford is adding more than 50 engineers to work on electrification as it brings these technologies in-house.

By physically bringing research, engineering and manufacturing closer together, Ford says it and its suppliers, universities and related industries can drive both innovation and job growth in this evolving form of transportation.

Ford’s global electrification strategy includes plans to launch five new full electric or hybrid vehicles in the compact, midsize and light commercial segments for the North American market by 2012 and European markets by 2013.

  • The Transit Connect Electric light commercial vehicle in North America later this year and in Europe in 2011;
  • The Focus Electric in North America in 2011 and in Europe in 2012;
  • A Lincoln MKZ hybrid, available this fall in North America;
  • A next-generation hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle based on Ford’s global C-car platform in North America in 2012; and
  • A C-MAX hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric model for Europe in 2013.