Ford is planning to grab a large piece of the electric vehicle market pie. The U.S. automaker today announced plans to triple production of its electrifying platforms.
In a press conference on Livestream, Jim Farley, group vice president of marketing, sales and service said the company will triple production capacity of electrified vehicles in the U.S. by 2013. Ford plans to invest more in the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles, but will not be bringing the C-Max mini van to production.
"Customers have come to expect fuel efficiency with every new vehicle Ford delivers today, and now we are further differentiating our electrified vehicle lineup with something else people truly value--choice," said Farley. "Whether people want a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or full battery electric vehicle, we have a family of vehicles for them to consider, providing a range of options to best meet their needs and support their driving habits and lifestyles."
Ford currently sells about 35,000 electrified vehicles a year--including the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid. With the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Ford will bring its electrified vehicle production capacity to more than 100,000 annually by 2013.
Ford uses lithium ion battery packs for C-Max Hybrid, and larger lithium ion battery packs for C-Max Energi, but the vehicles still have room for five passengers--opposed to the Chevy Volt's seating for four.
The battery packs are up to 50 percent lighter and 25 percent smaller than current nickel-metal-hydride batteries and increase the amount of energy available to extend the vehicle's driving distance and boost fuel economy.
Farley did not say how long of a range the car will travel in "electric-only" mode, but said total range would be about 500 miles. He also said the vehicle is rated at 41 mpg on the highway.
As for home charging the C-Max Energi, Farley said, the home charging stations will be available at a lower cost than those of competitors. And, he said, Ford is working with Microsoft on a new Web-based interface designed to ensure the vehicle charges only when electricity rates are lowest.
Ford will also invest $135 million and add more than 220 "green technology" jobs in Michigan, and 50 new electrified-vehicle engineers. The Michigan assembly plant will also be retooled to build the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi.
The C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi will be available in 2012. No price has been announced yet.