By Jeff Gilbert

DEARBORN — (WWJ) Ford is putting a new emphasis on electric vehicles and hybrids, officially opening a new “Advanced Electrification Center” in Dearborn.

VIDEO: Jeff Gilbert reports on Ford’s electrification efforts.

“There’s gonna be more innovations, more jobs, more growth, and more products to come,” said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of Powertrain Engineering.

Ford now has a thousand engineers working on electrification programs, which include hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles. About half were working out of various offices in Dearborn. The rest were scattered at a number of Ford facilities worldwide.

Bakaj said it was time to put them all under one roof.

“We want to build more of a creative atmosphere, creative group here to work on these next generation innovations.”

Those innovations could also include more electrification on conventionally powered vehicles, to improve fuel economy. We’re already starting to see vehicles that shut off when they are stopped, and restart instantly.

The new electric Ford Focus has just arrived at dealerships. Ford’s first plug in hybrid, the C-Max Energi launches in the fall. Ford will also have hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of its next generation Fusion mid-size car.

Ford has invested $135 million in electrification work in the past year. The 285 thousand square foot Advanced Electrification Center will allow Ford to get new products to market faster.

This also creates new opportunities for engineers.

‘We are hiring,” says Ford Electrification Director Kevin Layden. “Actually, over the past twelve months, we’ve hired 70 engineers plus in this organization. It’s continuing to grow. Both experienced engineers as well as recent graduates.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert


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