If you have any doubts about the future of the auto industry, take a look at how Ford is dividing up its real estate and engineering staff when it comes to newfangled fuel-saving engines.
Its converting more space in its engineering facilities to accommodate the growing team working on electric vehicles and other fuel-saving engines and technologies. Staffing on the team has doubled in five years.
A 285,000-square-foot section of the Advanced Engineering Center in Dearborn, Mich., is being converted for use by more than 1,000 engineers now working on hybrids and electrified vehicles as part of Ford’s sustainable mobility technologies team, the company said Wednesday.
The engineers are part of a larger team that also works on Ford’s EcoBoost turbocharged gasoline engines.
Engineers come from diverse backgrounds. Some have worked on jets, rockets, missiles, satellites and unmanned aircraft, said Chuck Gray, chief engineer for hybrids and electric vehicles.
“Working with such a diverse group makes it exciting and fun to come to work every day,” said James Gibbons, who manages battery units for hybrid vehicles. “With this group, we never run out of fresh ideas or new ways to provide our customers with better fuel efficiency.”
Ford’s vehicle lineup includes hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles such as the Focus Electric, C-Max Energi and the new Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
“Ford remains absolutely committed to providing a wide range of choices of top fuel economy solutions for our customers — from EcoBoost-powered gasoline vehicles and hybrids to plug-in hybrids and full electrics,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas.
“To meet growing demand for our fuel-efficient vehicles, we are continuing to invest in new jobs in the U.S. and converting our facilities for further advancements,” Fields said.
The new jobs are part of Ford’s plans to add more than 12,000 hourly and salaried jobs by 2015 in the U.S. Here’s why:
Ford has also pledged to triple production capacity of its hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles in the U.S. next year compared with 2011. But the EcoBoost gasoline engine has attracted many more consumers than Ford’s hybrid or plug-in hybrid offerings.
Ford will offer a variation of the EcoBoost powertrain on 11 vehicles by the end of this year, up from seven in 2011 as the company makes good on its pledge to triple EcoBoost production capacity.
“EcoBoost expansion and availability in high-volume nameplates such as the all-new Ford Escape and Fusion will take this affordable, fuel-saving technology to the heart of the market,” Fields said.
Kevin Layden, director of Ford electrification programs and engineering, said the new Fusion will be offered with a choice of two EcoBoost engines, as a hybrid and as a plug-in hybrid. Mileage should range from 37 miles per gallon to the equivalent of 100 mpg with the plug-in Fusion.