Ford has reaffirmed its commitment to hybrid and electric technology, with the announcement of a new US$135 million (AU$129 million) investment this week.
The funds will be directed toward the design, engineering and production of components for the carmaker’s growing range of hybrid and electric models.
The investment coincides with the renaming of Ford’s Advanced Engineering Centre (active since 1953) in Dearborn as the ‘Ford Advanced Electrification Centre’.
This centre will form the nucleus of Ford’s international hybrid and electric development, and is expected to reduce development periods for hybrid and electric models by up to 25 percent.
The centre already houses over 1000 engineers - up 60 this year - and will double its battery testing capabilities by year’s end.
Ford also claims that it is on track to reduce the cost of existing hybrid componentry by 30 percent, which will help reduce the price premium of such models.
Such an investment is significant for the company’s worldwide interests, but remains a small fraction of the circa US$750 million (AU$718 million) Ford’s compatriot GM spent developing its Volt range-extended electric vehicle.
Ford is yet to confirm any specific models for the Australian market, but Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano confirmed earlier this year that plug-in hybrids and electric models will reach our market by 2015.