DEARBORN – Ford in the past five years has doubled the size of the team working on fuel-saving technologies like EcoBoost® turbocharged gasoline engines, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles globally, and is now converting one of its largest research and development labs as it continues to hire for further fuel-saving advancements.
Ford’s team of more than 1,000 engineers working on hybrid and electrification programs – including Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid – has grown so fast that the company today is announcing the conversion of its 285,000-square-foot Advanced Engineering Center in Dearborn, Mich., to electrified vehicle development.
“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.”
The new jobs are part of Ford’s plans to add more than 12,000 hourly and salaried jobs by 2015 in the United States. The company also has announced it is tripling production capacity of its hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles in the U.S. next year compared with 2011.
From EcoBoost to hybrids and from plug-in hybrids to full electric vehicles, this year Ford will offer nine vehicles reaching an anticipated 40 mpg or more.
Ford will offer fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines in 11 vehicles in 2012, up from seven in 2011, tripling the production capacity of EcoBoost-equipped Ford vehicles. This expansion of fuel-efficient offerings will be led by the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine in the high-volume Escape compact utility vehicle and Fusion sedan nameplates.
Delivering up to 20 percent better fuel economy than conventional engines, EcoBoost uses smaller overall size combined with turbocharging and gasoline direct injection to bring customers the power they want and the fuel economy they need.
“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,” said Fields.
Kevin Layden, director of Ford Electrification Programs and Engineering, says the new Fusion is the best example of how Ford is giving customers true power of choice for fuel-efficient vehicles. “From Fusion with EcoBoost and Fusion Hybrid to Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid – each of these cars will help customers save money at the pump,” Layden said.
Fusion offers customers the broadest selection of fuel-efficient powertrains in the midsize car segment, including a choice of two EcoBoost four-cylinder engines, a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. The new Fusion is expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy across the lineup:
- 2013 Fusion 1.6-liter EcoBoost: Projected 37 mpg highway, which would make it America’s most fuel-efficient non-rechargeable midsize sedan
- 2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid: Aiming to become the world’s most fuel-efficient midsize sedan with a projected 100 MPGe rating
- 2013 Fusion Hybrid: Expected to become the world’s most fuel-efficient non-rechargeable midsize sedan with 47 mpg
Ford Advanced Engineering Center: Past and present
The Ford Advanced Engineering Center is located within the company’s Henry and Edsel Ford Research & Engineering Center, the 500-acre technical complex in Dearborn that opened in 1953 and serves as the home for research and engineering efforts.
The AEC was constructed on the research campus in 1993 as part of an $84 million project that centered largely on noise, vibration and harshness testing with several state-of-the-art labs within.
That changed in 2009. As Ford’s investment in electrified vehicles like Fusion Hybrid increased, so did the size of the Sustainable Mobility Technologies team behind it, said Chuck Gray, Ford chief engineer, Global Core Engineering Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.
The rapid growth has not only brought together a large group of talented and smart engineers, it has brought together innovators from diverse backgrounds. Many have experience in aerospace working on jets, rockets, missiles, satellites and unmanned aircraft. One engineer even spent time in the driver’s seat of the Goodyear Blimp.
There also is an Emmy Award winner, an individual who was presented an award from retired Army Gen. Colin Powell for outstanding performance and excellence, and another engineer who helped develop Intel’s Pentium processors.
“Working with such a diverse group makes it exciting and fun to come to work every day,” said James Gibbons, Ford’s manager of 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.”