All Coming from the Same Factory
I guess now we know how former U.S. president George W. Bush spends his time: Driving cars for photoshoots! Kidding aside, this post is about the 2012 Focus. Ford has announced that thanks to a $550 million investment in their Michigan Assembly Plant (which used to make gas guzzling SUVs, and now has a 0.5-megawatt solar system and electric trucks that carry parts around), they will be able to make 4 different versions of the Focus: the regular gasoline-powered one, a gas-electric hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and an all-electric version.
At 1.2 million square feet - about the size of 22 football fields - the plant becomes Ford's most flexible, high-volume and modern manufacturing facility in its global operations. [...]
The changes at the plant will allow the company to run multiple models down the same production line without requiring considerable downtime for changeover of tooling. Two different models of the Focus can be adjusted between builds without restrictions.
Flexible Manufacturing Can Lead to Cheaper EVs
That's smart, because there are a lot of unknown variables that can affect demand for greener cars (the price of oil, a cap & trade agreement, a carbon tax, etc), and it's also much easier to get economies of scale if you spread the cost of the machinery over more than one model. This should lead to less expensive hybrids and electric cars, and it should also help Ford keep up with demand more easily (what's the point of making electric cars if nobody can buy them because you only make a few each year?)
The Focus Electric battery electric vehicle goes into production late next year followed by a new hybrid and plug-in hybrid in late 2012. The specs aren't out yet, but we do know that the electric Focus will use LG Chem batteries and will only be available in certain markets at first.
More on Hybrids and Electric Cars
Tesla Motors Will Make $60 Million From Toyota's Electric RAV4
BYD Stops Production of F3e Electric Car (At Least for Now)
With 11 Days to Go, Chevy Volt #1 Charity Auction Reaches $180,000
GM to Hire 1,000 Engineers & Researchers to Develop Electric Vehicles
Honda Unveils the Fit EV Concept and a Plug-In Hybrid Platform
Ford Announces Markets Where Focus Electric Will be Available in Late 2011
GE to Purchase 25,000 Electric Cars by 2015!