“It’s a major development for our company, our community, and our country,” noted Ford chairman William Clay Ford, addressing reporters at Ford’s NAIAS booth.
The news is significant because it solidifies Ford’s recent announcements about electric vehicles. The company had already invested $550 million in the past year to transform its Michigan assembly plant from a large SUV factory to a production site where it will build the all-new Ford Focus and the Focus Electric.
There will be four hybrids and electric vehicles in the next 3 years, according to Ford: the Ford Transit Connect battery electric vehicle (2010); the Ford Focus Electric passenger car (2011); an unnamed hybrid car based on Ford’s C-platform (2012); an unnamed plug-in hybrid in 2012.
Equally important is Ford’s announcement that it will bring EV battery systems design and development in house. In its facilities, Ford will design advanced lithium-ion batteries in house and will move production of the battery packs from Mexico to Michigan. Ford says that the new engineering and production efforts will create up to 1,000 new jobs in Michigan.
“We believe battery systems development is going to be a core competency for Ford in the 21stcentury,” Ford said.