Ford Expands C-MAX Energi Sales to China

Mark Fields, John Lawler and Joseph Liu at 2015 Ford ?Innovation for Millions? with the Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which will come to China in 2016

Mark Fields, John Lawler and Joseph Liu at 2015 Ford “Innovation for Millions” with the Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which will come to China in 2016

Ford announced they would sell the fuel-efficient C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in China in 2016 at a company event in Shanghai Monday.  The C-MAX was first sold in Europe in 2003.  The current body style was sold in Europe in 2011 and the following year in North America with the introduction of the conventional hybrid and Energi.  This year, Ford began sales of the Energi in the Netherlands by exporting the car from the U.S. Maybe InsideEVs will finally stop their monthly prediction of the dismiss of the Ford C-Max Energi (“It still would not surprise us to see the C-MAX Energi live only as long as it takes to introduce a Focus Energi”) despite stable sales with the drop in fuel prices (“The plug-in C-MAX Has turned into a very steady and predictable performer for Ford”).  It appears as though Ford is committed to the C-MAX, even though many were predicting its dismiss in 2018 when Ford said it would move production to another plant.

Ford announced at the event it will invest 1.8 billion U.S. dollars over the next five years in China.

U.S. Ford C-MAX and Focus Plant Production Moving In 2018

800_22871According to several media sources, Ford announced today that production of the C-MAX and Focus will move from the Wayne Michigan Assembly Plant in 2018 to another location.  UAW Officials understand it will be outside the U.S.  The C-MAX is also made in Germany.  The Focus is built in several other countries.  Although the plant only makes C-MAX and Focus vehicles, Ford said the plant would not be closed.  Does this mean anything about the future of the C-MAX Hybrid and Energi?  I don’t know.  It wasn’t that long ago that the plant was retooled for the Focus and C-MAX after being closed in the 2008 recession.  Focus production at the plant started December 2010 and C-MAX in 2012.

 

Will Apple Make Electric Cars?

My wife and I really enjoy driving our Ford C-Max Energi.  It’s the focus of this site.  However, it is really interesting to me that in the past few days, there’s been publications in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters and 9to5Mac about Apple creating a large team of employees working on an electric minivan.

The Wall Street Journal first reported this less than a week ago on February 13th.  According to the Journal, Apple is designing an electric minivan.  The car project lead is Steve Zadesky, a former Ford Engineer, who lead teams to create the iPod and iPhone.  The Journal said Mr Zadeskey was given the permission to create a 1,000-person team.  The Journal also said Apple hired Johann Jungwirth, who was the former president and chief executive of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development in North America.

Reuters published an article the next day, February 14th, that added Apple was working on self-driving and autonomous-driving electric cars.  It also said that Apple is recruiting experts in robotics.

Today, Bloomberg reports that Apple wants to start production of an electric car as early as 2020.  The article said that A123, a battery maker for electric vehicles, sued Apple because it is “poaching” their employees.  According to the lawsuit, this aggressive campaign to hire their employees started in June 2014.  The lawsuit also claimed, “Apple is currently developing a large-scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123.”  The hiring of A123 employees started with former Ford engineer, Mujeeb Ijaz, who founded A123’s Venture Technology division researching materials, battery cells, and advanced concepts.  After starting at Apple in June, he hired other A123 employees according to Bloomberg.  Bloomberg also noted that Tesla’s Elon Musk complained this month about Apple offering $250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases to hire away Tesla’s employees.

Also today, 9to5Mac reports many new hires at Apple.  Robert Gough, started in January from a company designing safety systems including airbags, radar and night vision.  David Nelson, a Tesla engineer that left and started at Apple this month.  At Tesla, he served as a mechanical engineer leading a team responsible for modeling, prediction and verification of motor and gearbox performance and efficiency.  Pete Augenbergs, an Apple employee since 2008 that formerly worked for Tesla, is a product design manager on the team.  Hugh Jay, a transmission and mechanical design engineer.  New hire, John Ireland, was a senior power train test engineer at Tesla since October 2013.  Previously, he worked for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on battery technologies to improve energy storage. Another new hire is David Perner, a Ford engineer that worked on “hybrid vehicle calibration, new vehicle launch, design and release…”  Perner worked on an upcoming hybrid Ford F-150.  9to5Mac reported the details of many more new hires on the Apple vehicle team.

The hybrid and plug-in vehicle market is definitely getting interesting.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying our Ford C-Max Energi.