Car giant Ford announced this week that it is investing $135m (£94m) to design, engineer and produce key components for its next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles.
Ford engineers in Dearborn will design the battery packs for the vehicles, while engineers in Livonia will design electric-drive transaxles for the next-generation hybrids, based on Ford’s global C- and CD-car platforms, which go into production in North America in 2012.
Ford’s Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, will assemble the battery packs beginning in 2012, moving work to Michigan that is currently performed in Mexico by a supplier. Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, will build the electric-drive transaxles, beginning in 2012, from a supplier facility in Japan.
To support battery-pack assembly at the Rawsonville Plant, Ford will invest approximately $10m 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 also will internally design and engineer an electric front-wheel-drive, continuously variable transaxle to supply its next-generation hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles in North America. Beginning in early 2012, Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant will produce the HF35 transaxle. Current model electric-drive transaxles are provided by a supplier in Japan.
To launch the transaxle, Ford will add engineering and production jobs in Southeast Michigan, including about 130 manufacturing jobs at its Van Dyke facility, while investing about $125m. The investment includes a grant received from the Department of Energy to help create green technology jobs in the US.
The investment includes manufacturing capital equipment, launch and engineering costs, and supplier tooling upgrades, all required to support the production launch of the HF35 transaxle.