Mon 31 May 2010
Ford announced recently that they will be investing approximately $135 million toward designing, engineering, and producing key components for five new hybrid vehicles they plan on making statewide. These next generation Ford hybrid-electric vehicles, and their components, will go into production in 2012 here in the United States and will create much needed economic stimulus for a Michigan populous that has been hard-hit by the recession.
The Long-Term Plan
One way that they are doing this is by bringing home green technology jobs that were being out-sourced to other countries.
The advanced lithium-ion battery packs that were previously been produced by a supplier in Mexico will now be done in the Rawsonville plant. These are specifically designed for the new 2012 line, which will include the new global CD-car platform hybrid, and the new global C-car hybrid.
The Van Dyke Transmission Plant will produce the electric drive transaxle (a combined front axle and transmission) that is currently done by a supplier in Japan. The new electric, front wheel drive, transaxle will be internally designed and engineered to be used in the five models of Ford Hybrids.
According to one spokesman, these five models will make up a large part of Ford’s full lineup of green vehicles and are likely to put them on the frontline of green vehicle development. And that is a place they want to be. The larger goal is to make an entire family of hybrids, and full electric vehicles, available to Ford customers throughout the world. Ford is well on the way to achieving this goal.
The 2001 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is a good example of how Ford is scaling up to reach that target. By using technology from the best selling U.S. Hybrid, the Ford Fusion, they are avoiding redesigning an award winning and already highly functional system. They are, however, refining the Fusion system in order to improve its 41 miles to the gallon gas mileage, and fine-tuning the way the power shifts from the motor and engine.
This Lincoln MKZ will have a revamped body style and interior this year as well. The exterior will boast stretched tail lights, new trim, updated dashboard and gauges, including a SmartGauge that has an EcoGuide. The interior will have eco-friendly veneers, and leather seats that use a chromium-free tanning process.
When everything in said and done, this will be the premier luxury hybrid sedan, both in features that are offered and overall good gas mileage. Aimed at an eco-conscience market, this is likely to appeal to those who have the money to spend on a useful ecologically friendly luxury car.
For green car fans that are looking for a purer breed of hybrid, they may want to wait for the new generation line, which will have more to offer electric aficionados with a lineup that will include the Transit Connect Electric, Focus Electric, the next-generation C-car platform, and the C-max Hybrid Electric.
In the meantime, Ford is continuing its efforts in forwarding hybrid technology to a wider range of its vehicles and products, improving existing product efficiency, and is consistently moving toward the goal of having as-much-as 25 percent of its vehicles powered by electric motors and batteries in the coming decade.