Watch CBSN Live

Ford's Electric Car...Built on the SUV Line

It's a sign of the times. Ford's new Focus-based electric vehicle (EV), will be built in a Wayne, Michigan factory that once built nothing but SUVs--and supplied half of Ford's worldwide profits.

The Focus itself was designed in Europe and will debut in 2011. It's a world car, destined to sell two million units around the globe. The EV version, with lithium-ion batteries, is being developed in partnership with Magna International and will appear that same year.

Ford is investing $550 million in what was once known as the Michigan Truck Plant. For nostalgia buffs, the 140-acre, 2.8-million-square foot site opened in 1957, when it made station wagon bodies. It later produced the Ford Bronco, Ford F-Series, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.

Ford is also retooling Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 in Ohio ($350 million spent) to produce a very green product line, specifically the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engines to be offered in the Ford Flex, Ford Taurus SHO, Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT crossover. The plant also has a history, producing more than 35 million engines, including the famous 351 Cleveland, the 302 and 5.0 liter V-8s.

Dan Kapp, Ford's director for powertrain research and advanced engineering, says the 3.5-liter EcoBoost "does what the 5.4-liter V-8 does today." He said EcoBoost will reach the 1.3 million-unit level by 2013, when it will be available on 95 percent of Ford nameplates.

The battery Focus is just one part of a multi-pronged electric strategy that includes a Transit Connect commercial vehicle next year, and a "next generation" hybrid and plug-in hybrid in 2012.

According to Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, "We're changing from a company focused mainly on trucks and SUVs to a company with a balanced product lineup that includes even more high-quality, fuel-efficient small cars, hybrids and all-electric vehicles. As customers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we'll be there with more of the products they really want."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.