2013 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid

Green manufacturing jobs for Ford's hybrid transmissions coming to America

Ford's push into hybrid, and plug-in hybrid, cars is bringing hybrid transmission manufacturing to America, adding new jobs at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant building the transmissions at the core of the company's new electrified vehicles.

Adoption of green technology was supposed to bring new jobs to the U.S. to manufacture green technology widgets. For example, someone has to manufacture all those electric or hybrid cars we'll be buying in the coming years. Ford announced last week the company will start manufacturing hybrid- and plug-in hybrid car transmissions at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant. This adds jobs in America, to manufacture an item that had formerly been outsourced to a supplier in Japan.

Ford is investing $220 million to transform the Van Dyke Transmission plant to manufacture the new hybrid transmission, the HF35, and other fuel-efficient transmissions. This is part of $632 million Ford expects to invest in increasing capacity at three North American transmission facilities by 2015.

The investments resulted in the addition of 225 new job. Of that number, 130 were added as part of the hybrid transmission launch, and the remainder will be added by the end of August.

“Our investments in Van Dyke Transmission make it our most advanced, efficient transmission plant in the world,” said Jim Tetreault, vice president of North America Manufacturing. “This demonstrates our commitment to bringing jobs and technology back into Ford and North America – actions that not only benefit our employees but our customers and the communities where we do business.”

The HF35 transmission is the first hybrid transmission to be designed and built by Ford. Previously Ford had relied on a supplier in Japan for hybrid transmission production. Development costs are expected to drop by 20 percent.

Ford's goal with the HF35 is to create a high performance smooth operating hybrid transmission: a) It has two electric motors capable of operating at higher speeds; b) New efficient cooling system for operation at higher speeds; c) Optimized gear ratios for better fuel economy; d) More precise controls for smoother driving experience; e) Weight reductions.

The HF35 transmission will be used in several new vehicles that are part of Ford's push into electrified vehicles. These include the Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi plug-in Hybrid, and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

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