Ford Motor Company is tripling production capacity of its electrified vehicle lineup through 2013 to more than 100,000 units, further boosting volumes of its C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid (earlier post), which begin production next year. Today, Ford sells approximately 35,000 electrified vehicles a year, led by the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid.
Ford’s plan to invest in even 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. This also marks the first time North American customers will have the choice of a dedicated body style for a range of Ford electrified vehicles.
Ford is electrifying platforms versus a single vehicle, and plans five electrified vehicles for North America by 2012, including the Transit Connect Electric, on sale now, and Focus Electric this year. The C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid will be followed by another next-generation hybrid in 2012.
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 selling in Europe 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.
The new Ford C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than Fusion Hybrid and is the first of two new Ford Hybrids to use lithium-ion battery technology. This all-new hybrid also will travel at a higher all-electric speed than Fusion Hybrid’s 47 mph.
Targeted to achieve AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) status, C-MAX Energi pairs a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. This allows it to run in electric mode before using the gasoline engine. Ford says the C-MAX Energi is being engineered to deliver more overall driving range than any other current plug-in hybrid or extended-range electric vehicle.
Assembly. 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, Mich., the first plant to produce gasoline-powered vehicles, full-electric vehicles, hybrid and plug-in hybrids under one roof.
Employees at the Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., are on tap to assemble advanced lithium-ion battery packs for C-MAX Hybrid, and today Ford confirmed that 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 is building the electric drive transaxles, work currently outsourced to a supplier facility in Japan for current model hybrids.