Ford EV.automotiveIT

Later this year, Ford will launch 5 new EVs in the US, including the 2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid (pictured)

Ford Motor will double its battery-testing capacity next year as it accelerates its plans to bring more hybrid and full electric vehicles to market.

The US-based automaker also said it now has more than 1,000 engineers working on vehicle electrification. It added 60 engineers in the past year and plans to employ "dozens" more in the coming year.

As part of a 135 million dlr investment in design, engineering and production of key EV components, Ford will double its existing battery testing capabilities to 160 individual test channels next year. That will save time in the testing and certification process, Ford said.

The company is also dedicating  a 285,000 square foot research and development lab in Dearborn to focus almost entirely on hybrids and electrification.

Ford is launching five electrified vehicles later this year: the Focus Electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Max, and plugin and conventional hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion.

Underlining the broadening scope and the urgency of its EV program, Ford is  bringing EV r&d and production more and more in-house.

"Time is of the essence, especially when we have a specific launch date,” said Anand Sankaran, Ford's executive technical leader, energy storage and HV systems.

The various initiatives have resulted in a 30 pc cost saving on current hybrid systems compared with the previous generation, Ford said.