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Ford To Triple Production Capacity Of EVs In North America By 2013

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The Ford Focus Electric. (Ford Motor Co. photo.)

The Ford Focus Electric. (Ford Motor Co. photo.)

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Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) announced Thursday it is tripling production capacity of its electrified vehicle lineup through 2013, further boosting volumes of its all-new C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, which begin production next year and adding hundreds of green auto jobs in the Detroit area.

Said Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of marketing, sales and service: “Whether people want a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or full battery electric vehicle, we have a family of vehicles for them to consider, providing a range of options to best meet their needs and support their driving habits and lifestyles.”

Ford is electrifying platforms — versus a single vehicle — to offer customers the most choice. Five electrified vehicles are planned for North America by 2012, including the Transit Connect Electric, on sale now, and Focus Electric, to be available later this year. The C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid and C-Max Hybrid will be followed by another next-generation hybrid in 2012.

Today, Ford sells approximately 35,000 electrified vehicles a year, led by the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid — the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in America and the most fuel-efficient SUV in the world, respectively.

Ford will grow its electrified vehicle production capacity to more than 100,000 annually by 2013, thanks to growing consumer appetites for green vehicles and growing desires for stylish new Focus-sized vehicles.

The new Ford C-Max five-passenger vehicle, which is the base for the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, is leaving European dealer lots at twice the rate of last year’s model. More than 100,000 of these new vehicles have been sold in Europe since its launch in late 2010, and Ford is already finding new ways to produce more European C-Max models than originally expected at its Valencia, Spain, plant.

Ford’s plan to invest in more capacity for its five-passenger C-Max electrified models for North America replaces an earlier plan of introducing the gasoline-engine-powered seven-passenger C-Max multi-activity vehicle.

Both the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi models will be built alongside the all-new 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, the first plant in the world to produce gasoline-powered vehicles, full-electric vehicles, hybrid and plug-in hybrids under one roof.

The plant’s production is powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.

The new green vehicle lineup also is bringing jobs to Ford and America.

In total, Ford is adding more than 220 green technology jobs in Michigan alone as the state becomes its center of excellence for vehicle electrification. This includes a combined 170 jobs at Ford’s Rawsonville and Van Dyke Transmission plants, plus more than 50 new engineers based in Dearborn in the past 12 months specifically for the design and development of key component for Ford hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full battery electric vehicles.

Employees at the Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti are on tap to assemble advanced lithium-ion battery packs for C-Max Hybrid, and today Ford confirmed the larger lithium-ion battery packs for C-Max Energi also will be produced at Rawsonville. Production currently is performed by a supplier in Mexico.

Both battery packs are being designed in-house by Ford engineers. Although the battery packs differ in size, energy storage and power output, they are designed for efficient production in the same flexible manufacturing facility.

Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights also benefits from electrified versions of the C-Max. Employees there are building the electric drive transaxles, work currently outsourced to a supplier facility in Japan for current model hybrids.

“Ford’s commitment to grow our electrified vehicle family brings good news for our customers, employees, the economy and the environment,” Farley said.

The new Ford C-Max Hybrid is targeted to deliver better mpg than Fusion Hybrid and is the first of two new Ford Hybrids to use lithium ion battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries are up to 50 percent lighter and 25 percent smaller than current nickel-metal-hydride batteries and increase the amount of energy available to extend the vehicle’s driving distance and boost fuel economy.

This all-new hybrid also will travel at a higher all-electric speed than Fusion Hybrid’s 47 mph.

Ford says the C-Max Energi will be able to fully recharge faster than the Chevrolet Volt and is being engineered to deliver more overall driving range than any other plug-in or extended range electric vehicle. It is also targeted to achieve AT-PZEV status.

More at www.ford.com.

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