DETROIT — As Ford Motor Co. moves into the electrification era with products funded by its huge investment in electric and hybrid vehicles, the company will manufacture at least some its own electric motors instead of buying them from suppliers.
As part of its proposed contract with the UAW, Ford has committed to making electric motors at its Van Dyke Transmission plant in suburban Detroit. Under the tentative labor agreement, the automaker will close the Romeo Engine plant and move its roughly 600 workers to Van Dyke. Ford vowed to invest $400 million in the facility over the course of the four-year agreement, which union members are voting on through Friday, Nov. 15.
Ford has committed to spend $11.5 billion on electric and hybrid vehicles through 2022, an investment expected to deliver 40 electrified vehicles, 16 of which are pure electric.
Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said the company does not comment on future products, and she cautioned that the UAW contract has not been ratified.
Brian Maxim, vice president of powertrain forecasting at Auto Forecast Solutions, a Pennsylvania consulting firm, believes the Van Dyke plan calls for Ford to build motors using technology licensed from Japanese supplier Toshiba, one of the industry's largest manufacturers of electric motors.
"Volume and cost are the reasons to bring electric motor production in-house," he said.
The electric motors could be used in the upcoming battery-powered version of the Ford F-150, the Mustang-inspired crossover or the vehicle Ford and Rivian are codeveloping.
Toyota is one of the few automakers that builds electric motors in-house. General Motors has also built its own electric motors.
Ford's Van Dyke plant builds transmissions for its hybrid vehicles, as well as 6- and 8-speed transmissions for front- and all-wheel-drive-based vehicles.