Ford is investing $135 million in the design, engineering and production of key components—including advanced battery systems—for its next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles going into production this year.
For example, Ford’s battery-testing capabilities will double by 2013 to a total of 160 individual battery-test channels. This includes investing in more of the highly specialized machines that can test and simulate everything from power and performance to life and thermal behavior over a complete range of temperatures and possible operating conditions.
The expanded battery-testing capabilities allow the team to quickly collect, analyze and apply large amounts of data and modify tests—if needed—and adapt necessary changes. Projects are completed at least 25% faster than they were with previous-generation hybrids, said Anand Sankaran, Ford executive technical leader, Energy Storage and HV Systems.
Ford is also dedicating a 285,000-square-foot research and development lab in Dearborn, Mich., to focus almost entirely on hybrids and electrification. The building formerly known as the Advanced Engineering Center is renamed the Ford Advanced Electrification Center and houses most of the 1,000 engineers working on hybrid and electrification programs.
Ford continues to build its electrified team with 60 engineers hired in the past year and dozens more positions to be filled this year.