Ford to open new EV battery research centre in southeastern Michigan

The US$185-million-dollar investment is just part of the US$22 billion Ford has committed to spend on EVs

A Ford logo on the grill of a 2018 Ford Explorer on display at the Pittsburgh Auto Show.
A Ford logo on the grill of a 2018 Ford Explorer on display at the Pittsburgh Auto Show. 
PHOTO BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ford, like its cross-town rival General Motors, is rapidly converting its research, engineering, and manufacturing to the production of electric vehicles. It’s earmarked US$22 million dollars for the rollout of a slew of EVs by 2025 and has promised all the cars it sells in Europe will be EVs as early as 2030.

The company is building a new billion-dollar EV manufacturing plant in Cologne, Germany, and will soon start delivering Mustang Mach-Es to Chinese customers from local manufacturing plants.

“We’re already scaling production of all-electric vehicles around the world as more customers experience and crave the fun-to-drive benefits of electric vehicles with zero emissions,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer. “Investing in more battery R&D ultimately will help us speed the process to deliver more, even better, lower-cost EVs for customers over time.”

A further part of commitment is the commissioning of a new battery research and development facility in southeastern Michigan that will focus completely on the development of new battery technologies, ranging from different lithium-ion chemistries; to yet-more-efficient solid-state power sources. According to Ford, the 200,000-square-foot facility will employ at least 150 engineers, procurement officers, and financial analysts.

The new Ion Park “global battery centre of excellence” will not, at least initially, build new batteries, but rather research their chemistries and battery management algorithms so Ford can best utilize the cells provided by outside suppliers such as SK Innovations and LG Chem.

The company remains reticent to start producing battery cells itself, citing the example of one of its competitors — the spokespeople were trying very, very hard to not say “Toyota” — which committed to ni-cad technology for its hybrids, but was caught a little flat-footed by the rapid progress to li-ion.

The new US$185-million Ion Park R&D centre is to open at the end of 2021.

Source: O Canada

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Ford F-150 EV spy photos give us a close look at motor and suspension

It has a fully independent rear end with coil springs

F-150EV.road25.KGP

One of our spy photographers has once again caught the electric Ford F-150 out testing. But this time, they got up close and personal with it, snapping some photos that give us our best look at the rear motor and suspension yet.

One of the first things you’ll probably notice is that this truck features a fully-independent rear suspension, made clear by the half-shafts sticking out of the motor. This fits with the old prototype electric F-150 we saw a couple of years ago, and it seems to rule out any possibility that Ford might have used the Magna eBeam solid axle for the truck.

F-150 EV

Interestingly, this suspension layout looks completely different, aside from being independent, to the old prototype. The old truck had very long control arms connected to a subframe in the middle. It seems like this could be related to the position of the motor. It’s clearly sitting between the wheels and axles on this truck. The old prototype had much longer control arms connected in the middle at a subframe. That previous truck may have had a motor placed elsewhere and connected to a smaller rear differential.

F-150 EV

The other prominent thing you’ll notice is that the truck is obviously sitting on coil over springs and shocks. Coil springs aren’t totally new to the F-150, since the Raptor has adopted them, but it is new for a more street-oriented truck.

The electric F-150 is expected to launch as a 2023 model. It will have dual motors making more than 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. The company naturally claims it will have plenty of towing and cargo capacity, and, being electric, it will even have a front trunk.

Source: Auto Blog

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In latest leadership shakeup, Ford announces new head of design

One of the auto industry’s most influential design leaders will retire from Ford Motor Company this spring and be succeeded by an accomplished global industry veteran

Source: Automotive World

One of the auto industry’s most influential design leaders will retire from Ford Motor Company this spring and be succeeded by an accomplished global industry veteran.

Moray Callum will cap his 38-year product development career – more than half of which was with Ford – as the company’s vice president, Design, for Ford and Lincoln brand vehicles worldwide.  He will be replaced by Anthony Lo, who most recently was vice president, Exterior Design, for Groupe Renault.  Callum’s retirement is effective May 1, enabling a one-month transition to Lo, who will start with Ford on April 1.  Like Callum, Lo will report to Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer.

Moray Callum

Callum’s design influence on Ford and the industry has been extensive.  His most recent body of work was particularly prolific, as Callum and his team helped create and introduce the acclaimed 2021 F-150, Mustang Mach-E, and reimagined Bronco and Bronco Sport.  A refined, modern design language for Lincoln has been essential to the brand’s global resurgence.

Among notable designs, Callum steered across his career were the 1999 Super Duty truck, 2011 Explorer, 2005 Mazda MX-5, 2007 Mazda CX-7, 2015 Mustang and F-150, and 2016 GT.

“Moray’s influence is seen on streets around the globe,” said Thai-Tang.  “He brought and sustained a design vision and leadership to studios – including Ghia in Italy and Mazda in Japan, in addition to Ford and Lincoln – that has elevated the beauty, meaning and function of cars, trucks and SUVs for millions of customers.”

Callum, a native of Scotland, had two tenures with Ford totalling 20 years.  His first was from 1995 until 2001 when he joined Mazda in Japan for five years to head that company’s design transformation.  At the time, Ford had a partnership with and ownership interest in Mazda.  Callum returned to Ford in 2006 as executive director, Design, for the Americas, and was promoted to his current role in 2014.

His first association with Ford dated to the late 1980s as a consultant designer at Ghia SpA in Italy.  Callum guided the development of dozens of concept vehicles, including the Ford Ghia Via and the Aston Martin Lagonda Vignale.  He also worked for Chrysler in the United Kingdom and for PSA Peugeot Citroën in France on passenger and commercial vehicles.

Anthony Lo

Lo will join Ford in the midst of an ambitious plan to turn around and grow its automotive business, with continued design of must-have vehicles.

“Our industry is evolving more rapidly than ever, and Ford will win the trust of customers by staying on the leading edge of that curve,” said Thai-Tang.  “Anthony is a world-class design leader with an exemplary global track record.  We’re excited to have him lead our Design organization as we accelerate the creation of connected, intelligent and increasingly electrified products.”

Born in Hong Kong, Lo got his initial break in the auto industry in 1987, when a professor at the Royal College of Art in London where he studied offered him a position at Lotus Cars in England.  There, Lo designed the distinctive Lotus Carlton, the world’s fastest car of its type at the time.

Lo said recently that his familiarity with Ford began as a young adult on the streets of Hong Kong, where the brand has and maintains a strong presence.  Later, he discovered the popularity of Ford in England and Continental Europe, “where it’s like a national brand.”  He added that models such as the Sierra RS Cosworth, “with its imposing floating rear spoiler and track-racing pedigree to match,” made a lasting impression on him.

“With the speed of evolving technologies and expectations, I believe cars will change more in the next decade than they have in the last century,” said Lo.  “Leading this change at Ford is a dream job for any car designer, and we’re going to embrace this era with open minds, ingenuity and breakthrough design solutions.”

At Renault in Paris for the past 10 years, Lo was instrumental in the development of the company’s “Cycle of Life” design strategy.  That approach was the basis for a series of award-winning concept cars, such as the Dezir, Captur, R-Space, Frendzy, Twin’Z, Twin’Run and Trezor.  Lo and his team implemented the strategy in Renault’s all-new global lineup of cars and SUVs.

Among production vehicles about which Lo is most proud are the second-generation of the Renault Captur, which built on the success of the original model with features like a wider track, distinctive lighting signature and more expressive body sides, and the Dacia Duster 2, delivering on its low-cost objective without compromising attractiveness.

Lo joined Saab in 2000.  From 2004 to 2010, Lo was director of Advanced Design for General Motors Europe, overseeing Saab, Opel and Vauxhall projects.  Earlier, Lo was with Mercedes-Benz in Japan, working on the company’s Maybach concept and S-Class vehicles, as well as Audi in Germany.

In addition to a master’s degree in Automotive Design from RCA, Lo holds a higher diploma in Industrial Design from Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

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Ford F-150 is Canada’s Top Searched vehicle, while luxury cars hold steady according to 2020 Canadian car shopper data

2021 Ford® F-150 Truck | Tougher Than Ever

Source: NewsWire

TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2020 /CNW/ – Despite the impact of the global pandemic, searches for luxury vehicles show little signs of slowing down in Canada, according to 2020 data released today from autoTRADER.ca, Canada’s largest automotive marketplace. The company’s annual Top Searched vehicles list noted favourites from 2019, including the beloved Ford F-150, Honda Civic and Toyota RAV4 remained in the top 10, while half (50 percent) of this year’s list consisted of premium nameplates, pointing to a range in Canadian vehicle preference. Additionally, BMW and Mercedes-Benz were the first and second most searched vehicle brands on autoTRADER.ca this year.

2020 Top Searched Vehicles in Canada

  1. Ford F-150
  2. Ford Mustang
  3. BMW 3 Series
  4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  5. Porsche 911

2020 marked a unique year for automotive shopping behaviours. In addition to tracking search data, autoTRADER.ca conducted ongoing consumer studies to measure the effects of the pandemic on Canadians. Following the initial impact of COVID-19 across the automotive sector in the spring, the pandemic ushered a surge of car shopping activity and first-time buyers into the market. With more Canadians at home this year, marketplace data revealed a significant increase in Canadians shopping for cars, as autoTRADER.ca experienced a record high of 25 million visits in a single month, and an increase of over 21 percent in visits year-over-year. The studies also revealed that the pandemic prompted contributing factors such as decreased comfort regarding the use of public transportation and ride-sharing, an increased desire for car ownership, and more time spent shopping online.

2021 Ford® F-150 Truck | Tougher Than Ever

“For the sixth year running the Ford F-150 retains the number one spot as Canada’s top-searched vehicle on autoTRADER.ca, despite being the only truck on the car-dominant 2020 Top Searched list,” says Jodi Lai, editor-in-chief, autoTRADER.ca.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition: A Kick in the Horse

The most powerful variant of Ford’s electric crossover SUV offers even quicker acceleration.

Source: MotorTrend

Good things come to those who wait, as evidenced by the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT. Unlike Ford’s lesser Mustang Mach-E models, which are due to go on sale before the end of the year, the Blue Oval plans to start selling the high-end Mach-E GT in late summer 2021—next year, at the time of this writing. As the most powerful iteration of the Blue Oval’s electric SUV, the GT trim packs a total of 480 hp—134 more than the next most powerful Mach-E model—from two electric motors, which Ford estimates launches the SUV to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. It also offers an estimated driving range of 250 miles by way of an 88-kWh battery pack—and a light right foot. In other words, the Mach-E GT’s inherent performance is arguably worth waiting for.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach E GT Performance Edition 2

It turns out Ford left some of the Mach-E GT’s dynamic capabilities on the cutting room floor, though, given the brand’s announcement of the even torquier GT Performance Edition. Although the Performance Edition maintains the horsepower figure of the standard GT, the model’s two electric motors now produce a total of 634 lb-ft of torque—34 lb-ft of twist more than the run-of-the-mill GT. That extra grunt allows the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition to hit the mile-a-minute mark in an estimated 3.5 seconds. Accompanying the Performance Edition’s improved acceleration are items such as 20-inch wheels wrapped in sticky Pirelli summer rubber, adaptive dampers, and special badging.

car

Unfortunately, the Performance Edition’s dynamic improvements net an estimated driving range of just 235 miles on a full charge, a drop of 15 miles relative to the normal Mach-E GT. Still, that distance ought to satiate the needs of most consumers. 

Ford’s yet to share pricing for the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition. That said, we wager the Performance Edition kit adds a few thousand dollars to the Mach-E GT’s estimated $61,600 starting price.

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Ford Trucks

Source: Ford

Ford Trucks

Ford Motor Company of Canada began building trucks during the Model T years. As in the U.S., they were known as Model TT’s. One major departure from the American trucks came in 1928 – during the Model AA era.

In order to adequately haul heavier loads, Ford Motor Company of Canada began building trucks with dual-wheel rear axles. These were dubbed Model AAC (“C” for Canada). It was not until 1930 that the U.S. built dual-wheel trucks.

Military Vehicles

Military Vehicles

During World War II, Ford Motor Company of Canada produced some 335,000 vehicles for defence. Some were cars, station wagons and trucks similar to civilian models.

Ford built a large number of trucks known as CMP’s (Canadian Military Pattern). Bodies conformed to a military design, but used Ford running gear. (General Motors also built CMP’s, using Chevrolet power train.)

Ford Motor Company of Canada also produced military vehicles known as Universal Carriers.

Mercury Trucks

Mercury Trucks

Right after World War II, when Ford Motor Company of Canada set up the Ford/Monarch and Mercury/Lincoln dealership networks, a new truck line was established. All Mercury dealers had Mercury trucks to sell. After the wartime shortage of chrome, and the painted grilles on the Ford trucks, the new Mercury trucks were spectacular.

Their grilles had six broad horizontal chrome bars, a large chrome cap at the tops of the grille, a broad chrome enhancement along the middle of the hood, and chrome headlight and parking light rims.

Meteor Trucks

Meteor Trucks

Ford introduced its new all-steel station wagon for 1952. It was called the Ranch Wagon, and there was a similar Ranch Wagon in the Meteor lineup. Ford had a sedan delivery based on the Ranch Wagon body, so Meteor also offered a sedan delivery.

Though production was never very high, Meteor sedan Deliveries were produced though to 1961, when just 67 were made. 

Import Fords
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Post-War Fords

Source: Ford.ca

Post-War Fords

Generally, Fords built in Canada mirrored their American counterparts. At times, a body type may have been omitted from Canadian production, but still offered in limited numbers as an import.

However, there was one was one leading deviation by post-war Canadian Fords from the U.S. pattern. That concerned all the 1954 Fords. It was for that year the U.S. discarded the old flat-head V-8 to introduce the new more powerful ohv V-8.

Ford Motor Company of Canada did not offer the new engine until the 1955 models. So, the 1954 Canadian-built Fords retained the old flat-head V-8. For 1952 and 1953, all Ford used the 239 cid 110 hp engine.

However, the 1954 Customline and Crestline series got the larger 255 cid version, rated at 120 hp. That was the engine the two upper lines of Meteor had used.

When the new V-8 came to Canadian Fords, it was the 272 cid engine rated at 162 hp. No power-pack or other engine options were available.

Finally, after a 15-year delay, the six-cylinder motor was available as a delete option in the early spring of 1956.

In any 1957 Fords which did not have the six, the new V-8 appeared. It displaced 272 cubic inches like the American-made Fords. However, the power rating was only a 190 hp in Canada, but 205 in the U.S.

In subsequent years, engines in Canadian Fords were similar to American models. Some power ratings may have differed, and some optional engines may not have been obtainable in Canada.

After, the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact came into effect in 1965, a greater quantity of the models not made in Canada were imported duty-free from the States. The Mustang and Thunderbird are two examples.

On very rare occasions, dealers would concoct a variation from the normal production model. In 1968 and 1969, at least one Ford dealer sold a special Custom two-door sedan model. It featured a vinyl-covered roof, and the LTD front end with hidden headlights. This was an unusual combination of prestige in the very bottom end of the full-size Ford range.

Mercury 114

Mercury 114

In 1939, the 703 Ford dealers across Canada sold both Fords and Mercurys. A few dealers sold Lincolns. After World War II, Ford Motor Company of Canada split their dealer network into two divisions. Existing dealers sold Ford, the new Monarch, and Ford trucks.

A new branch of dealers sold Mercurys, imported Lincolns, and a new line of Mercury trucks. By 1947, Ford Motor Company of Canada had 1,113 dealers, 353 of which were Mercury-Lincoln outlets.

Because Ford was in the low-priced field, it was more popular in Canada than the medium-priced Mercury. So that the new Mercury dealers could get a piece of the low-priced action, a smaller lower-cost Mercury line emerged.

Meteor phase 1

Meteor (Phase 1)

All Ford products shed their old prewar styling for a postwar new look. Of course, Ford of Canada’s unique models also embraced the new styling.

A June 25, 1948 press release stated, “The Mercury and Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited announced today that it would shortly introduce a brand new automobile in the low-priced field, to be known as the ‘Meteor.’ It will be exclusive to the Canadian market and will be distributed by the Mercury and Lincoln dealers across the Dominion.”

Monarch

Monarch

When the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited developed the Mercury 114, Mercury dealers had an advantage over Ford dealers. They could sell cars in both low- and mid-priced fields. So that the Canadian Ford dealers could compete on a level playing field, Ford of Canada established a new make in the Mercury 118 class. Based on Mercury, it was called Monarch, and made its debut in 1946.

It used a chromed Mercury grille frame, and replaced Mercury’s many thin vertical bars with three horizontal bars. Below the main grille, Mercury had two long oval openings. Monarch had these also, but placed just one bar across each instead of two as Mercury had.

Edsel

Edsel

Few cars have ever been introduced with as much hype and excitement as the Edsel. It brought in huge crowds to kick its tires, but failed to find many buyers.

Ford Motor Company of Canada made a wise decision by having existing Ford dealers handle the Edsel. In hindsight, it was much better than setting up an entirely new dealer network as was done stateside.

Frontenac

Frontenac

Frontenac was a Governor of New France in the latter 17th century. His name was used on a Canadian car built by Durant in 1931. When Ford Motor Company of Canada introduced a compact car for 1960, it seemed strange that they chose a name used by another company. But after 29 years, only the oldest of car trivia fanatics would remember.

The Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited was keeping quite a level playing field for its two dealer chains. For just about every model the Ford branch sold, the Mercury-Meteor branch had a comparable model to sell.

Meteor phase 2

Meteor (Phase 2)

The sudden and late decision by the U.S. to stop making the Mercury Meteor left Ford Motor Company of Canada in a dilemma. Some quotes from the PRODUCT IMAGE AND STRATEGY document from Ford of Canada’s Product Planning Office sheds some light on how the Canadian company responded to this predicament.

“The Meteor’s principal competition is the Pontiac, the industry leader. . . .The Canadian Pontiac has the U.S. Pontiac Catalina body shell with a Chevrolet chassis and driveline including 230 CID six cylinder engine.” 

More Unique Mercurys

More Unique Mercurys

The Ford-based Meteor was heralded by the Mercury 114. Likewise, a low cost Mercury model preceded the Mercury-based Meteor. For 1963, Ford Motor Company of Canada made available the Mercury 400.

This Canadian-only, entry-level, full-size Mercury looked like a stripped Monterey. There were no Monterey nameplates on the car, nor was there any 400 ID’s.

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