Those who live in and around the metro Detroit area are currently experiencing gas prices that are more typically found in places like California. . . or even Hawaii. Part of the rise in prices has to do with problems with pipelines and refineries. And the cost of crude. So as we have $4.00 regular right now, thoughts turn to alternatives.
And while consumers have proven to be fickle, going for fuel-efficient vehicles when gas is high and returning to less-fuel-efficient vehicles (“But they’re better than they used to be,” goes an excuse) when gas prices are not-as high (the days of “low” are behind us), the OEMs are continuing to be serious about developing alternatives. Their commitment isn’t wavering. They know that electrification has to happen.
The latest move was made on Wednesday, when Ford executives declared that what had been the 285,000-square-foot Advanced Engineering Center would be henceforth known as the “Ford Advanced Electrification Center,” and more than putting a new sign out front of the building in Dearborn, they put most of the 1,000 or so engineers that they have working on hybrid and electrification programs inside it.
The company is working hard at developing advanced battery systems. It has invested $135-million in the design, engineering and production of key components for its hybrids. It is doubling its in-house battery testing capabilities by next year (160 individual battery test channels will be in place) so as to accelerate its development activities.
Note well that Ford isn’t just performing science experiments; it is putting electrified cars in production, including the Focus Electric, the C-MAX Hybrid, the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, a new Fusion Hybrid, and a Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. And that’s for this year. No doubt there will be more to come.
So those who think that the electrification of the light-passenger vehicle fleet is a passing notion, think again.