The C-MAX Hybrid - one of Ford's new hybrid offerings (Photo : Ford Motor Company)
Ford said today that it is significantly stepping up its hybrid and electric vehicle program, and adding jobs in the process.
The company is dedicating $135 million to the development and manufacturing of its hybrid-electric vehicles. As part of this, Ford will double its battery-testing capabilities by 2013 to comprise 160 battery-test channels.
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Ford is re-allocating a 285,000-square-foot property in Dearborn, Michigan to be a research and development center for hybrid and electric vehicles. The property was formerly known as the Advanced Engineering Center and is now to be known as the Ford Advanced Electrification Center. It is where most of the company's 1,000 engineers dedicated to hybrid and electrification programs work.
Ford said that 60 of those engineers have been hired in the last twelve months, and dozens more will be hired in the next.
The company aims to bring down the prices of its current hybrid system by 30 percent, and to triple its electrified vehicle manufacturing capacity by 2013.
It is launching five new electrified cars this year as part of a campaign to maximize customer choice in alternative-energy vehicles. The models are the Focus Electric, the C-MAX Hybrid, the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, the Fusion Hybrid, and the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
Aiding Ford in stepping up optimizing its hybrid and electric systems is the fact that it has brought research, development, testing, and production of electrified vehicles in-house,
The increase in testing capabilities alone allows work to be done at least 25 percent faster than previously.