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by Tim Beissmann

Ford is investing US$135 million ($128 million) into its hybrid and electric technology as it aims to speed up production and development of new components for its next-generation alternative fuel vehicles.

Ford says the investment will create “dozens” of jobs over the next 12 months at its newly dedicated Advanced Electrification Center in Dearborn, Michigan, joining the 60 new engineers that were added to the 1000-strong vehicle electrification team last year.

The US-based manufacturer’s battery-testing capabilities will double next year with the introduction of highly specialised machines that can simulate a range of factors from power and performance to life and thermal behaviour across a spectrum of temperatures and operating conditions.

Ford vice president of powertrain engineering Joe Bakaj said the new investment would help speed up the introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles to the market by at least 25 per cent and reduce the cost of its hybrid system by 30 per cent compared with the previous-generation system.

“The good news for customers is that they not only have more choice, but they have faster access to Ford’s latest and greatest in fuel-saving technologies and vehicles,” Bakaj said.

“This stems directly from our decisions to deliver true power of choice by expanding our dedicated electrified vehicle team and further investing in our facilities.”

Ford is the largest producer of hybrid vehicles in the US and will expand its range to five hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric models next year with the all-new Fusion Hybrid (pictured top), Fusion Energi plug-in and the C-Max Energi (pictured above) to join the C-Max Hybrid and the Focus Electric over the coming months.




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