Ford and suppliers investing $220M to produce new HF35 hybrid transmission and others at Van Dyke plant
|HF35 architecture. Click to enlarge.|
Ford and suppliers are investing $220 million to transform Van Dyke Transmission into a modern operation capable of producing Ford’s new hybrid transmission—HF35—as well as other fuel-efficient transmissions. HF35 will be used in five electrified vehicles being introduced this year: C-MAX Hybrid; C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid; Fusion Hybrid; Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid; and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Ford developed the HF35 supported in part by a grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE).
The HF35, which incorporates two electric motors, is Ford’s third-generation powersplit transaxle, and the first manufactured internally; previously, hybrid transmission production was handled by a supplier in Japan. By bringing the development work in-house, Ford reduced development costs 20%. Major components of the HF35 include:
- Motor/Generator Set
- Planetary Gearset
- Transfer Gears
- Final Drive Differential
- Flywheel/Damper Assembly
|Powersplit architecture. Click to enlarge.|
The cost of the HF35 is mitigated with the utilization of components common with other Ford transaxle products; the HF35 comprises 134 new parts and 43 carryover parts.
Ford engineered the HF35 and upgraded the controls with a goal of creating the industry’s highest-performing, smoothest-operating hybrid transmission. Among this hybrid transmission’s innovations:
Electric motors capable of operating at higher electric speeds;
A super-efficient new cooling system that enables higher speeds in electric drive;
Optimized gear ratios enabling improvement in fuel economy;
More precise controls to deliver higher levels of refinement as the powertrain transitions between engine and electric drive; and
Reduced weight to help increase fuel economy.
The Van Dyke investments are part of a $632-million commitment Ford and its suppliers are making to increase capacity and flexibility at three North American transmission facilities by 2015. Investments at Van Dyke include manufacturing, capital equipment, launch and engineering costs, and supplier tooling upgrades. New flexible equipment allows the plant to build both HF35 and 6F, a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, at the same time.