PLUG OK license plate
Ford Staffs Up to Stay in PHEV Race
Aug 20, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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Most of the news recently has been about GM and Toyota, but don't count Ford out. Here's a story from the Detroit Free Press about Ford (and GM and battery companies) urgently seeking to hire engineers for PHEVs and related projects.'s Michelle Krebs also reported on the story, saying, "If The Graduate were remade today, the advice to Benjamin for a certain life of corporate success would center around “electronics” instead of plastics. Indeed, about the only jobs in Detroit’s auto industry are in electronics to work on hybrids and the like." You can comment at her blog

Ford hiring 70 engineers for alt-fuel projects Detroit Free Press August 17, 2007 By Sarah A. Webster, Free Press Business Writer­/apps­/pbcs.dll­/article?AID=­/20070817­/BUSINESS06­/70817028­/0­/SPORTS02

One of Ford Motor Co.’s top executives responsible for hybrid-powered vehicles today said the company is looking to hire 70 new engineers and scientists to support its growing programs for alternative fuel vehicles, such as those powered by gasoline-electric engines or those that can be plugged into an outlet.

Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of sustainable mobility technologies and hybrid vehicle programs, told the Free Press this morning that the company is taking out full-page ads in local and national newspapers in its effort to find qualified candidates.

“It’s the kind of job that you can shape the world of the future,” said Gioia, who was meeting this morning with a team of engineers from Southern California Edison for a project on plug-in vehicles.

Ford and that electric utility company are starting a multi-million dollar partnership to make plug-in hybrid vehicles more accessible to consumers.

After losing a record $12.6 billion last year, Ford still is in the thick of cutting about 45,000 salaried and hourly jobs as part of a broad restructuring that also will close plants and revamp the Ford, Mercury and Lincoln lineups.

But offering vehicles that are fuel-efficient and tapping into the growing green movement nationwide are key to turning the automaker around. So Ford still needs engineers that can help the company accomplish its goals.

Gioia said Ford needs engineers with highly-specialized experience in batteries, controls and electrical systems, as well as noise, vibration and harshness.

Proven engineers with that kind of expertise are in high demand and short supply across the automotive industry as automakers ­ and their potential battery suppliers ­ try to develop vehicles that reduce dependence on foreign oil.

“There’s a limited pool,” Gioia acknowledged.

General Motors Corp. alone wants to fill 400 specialized engineering and technical positions, but that’s not all. Troy-based Compact Power Inc., one of two firms hired by GM to develop a lithium-ion battery system for the Chevrolet Volt, is expected to add 10 engineers to its workforce of 25 by the end of the year as GM tries to get the electric-powered Volt to market by 2010.

Watertown, Mass.-based A123 Systems Inc., which has a research arm in Ann Arbor and also is supporting GM, also plans to hire engineers to support its work on the Volt and a plug-in version of the Saturn Vue hybrid.

Ford’s Gioia said that the biggest concentration of expertise in the area of electric batteries comes from Japan and Korea.

“This country needs to have knowledge in battery technology,” she said.

Congress currently is considering energy bills that would subsidize battery research in the United States and also offer tax breaks to companies that sell retrofit battery packs, such as A123.

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