green and sustainable business

Ford, GM pony up big bucks for EV batteries and motors

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Ford says it will invest another $450 million in electric vehicle development and facility retooling, bringing its total investment in this area to a round $1 billion.

The latest monetary infusion, a part of its “Electrification Strategy,” paves the way for the Dearborn, MI, carmaker plan to engineer, produce and launch new electrified vehicles, battery systems and hybrid transaxles, while creating up to 1,000 new jobs in the state.

GM is also planning to spend big dollars, about $246 million, for electric motor and hybrid component production at a Baltimore facility.

Ford will build what it calls its next-generation hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles at the Michigan Assembly Plant beginning in 2012, in addition to producing the new Ford Focus and Focus Electric at the same plant in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

In addition the company announced it will design advanced lithium-ion battery systems for the next generation hybrid in Michigan and move production of battery packs from Mexico to Michigan.

This comes in addition to Ford’s previously announced plans to invest $550 million to transform Michigan Assembly Plant from an SUV factory to a modern car plant to build the new Focus starting this year and the Focus Electric pure battery electric vehicle in 2011.

“This investment underscores how serious we are about delivering a range of electrified vehicles to customers – including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles,” Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman in a press release. “Our industry is at the intersection of three critical global issues – the economy, energy and the environment. The winning companies will be those that address these issues with vehicles that are also exciting and fun to drive, without compromises.”

“Partnering with the state of Michigan has been critical to the acceleration of the electric vehicle plan,” Ford said. On Monday, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority board approved a package of incentives and tax credits totaling $188 million. The package includes job credits, brownfield site credits and battery pack assembly credits recently approved by the Michigan legislature.

As part of its electrification plan, Ford last year doubled the number and volume of its hybrid electric vehicles to include the Ford Fusion and Escape hybrids and Mercury Milan and Mariner hybrids.

Ford plans to bring the following electrified vehicles to market over the next three years:

– Ford Transit Connect battery electric vehicle commercial van in 2010

– Ford Focus Electric passenger car in 2011

– Next-generation hybrid based on C-car platform in 2012

– Plug-in hybrid based on C-car platform in 2012

Ford says a key component driving development of its EVs is lithium-ion battery system technology: the design, development and assembly of which Ford will bring in-house for its new hybrid vehicles.

“Battery system design and development will be a core competency for Ford in the 21st century,” said Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of Global Electrification. “Building in-house expertise and leveraging our global scale is critical to developing electrified vehicles that are affordable, connected and fun to drive.”

Speaking of bringing battery system design and development for next generation hybrid and plug-ins in-house or at least in-country GM says it will invest about $246 million in electric motor and electric drive manufacturing technology, including construction of a high volume production facility at the Baltimore Transmission plant. The facility will begin manufacturing electric motors for the General’s Two-mode Hybrid system in 2013.

GM says it will be the first electric motor manufacturing facility operated by a major automaker in the U.S.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

26 January, 2010 at 6:03 pm

7 Responses

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