Ford Motor Company has announced the creation of the Director of Global Electrification position and appointed Nancy Gioia, the automaker’s former director of sustainable mobility technology and hybrid vehicle programs for North America.
The move is seen as further evidence of Ford’s commitment to the electrification of its entire model lineup. In her new role, Gioia is charged with overseeing the implementation of Ford’s strategy to offer three types of electric vehicles: gas-electric hybrid vehicles, gas-electric plug-in hybrid vehicles and all-electric vehicles (AEV). She will also be involved in product planning, vendor partnerships and collaboration between Ford, governmental agencies and partners in the electric utilities sector.
Ford’s vice president of powertrain engineering, Barb Smardzich, said, “Ford is strongly positioned to accelerate its electric vehicle strategy thanks in part to the significant research we’ve already completed.” Regarding the company’s newly appointed Director of Global Electrification, Smardzich said, “Nancy’s unique background and experience in leading the hybrid technology and electric vehicle product teams position her well to coordinate our electric efforts across product development, sustainability, and government affairs as we move to the next frontier of this new form of transportation.”
Ford’s aggressive electrification strategy includes the introduction of two all electric vehicles on the market by 2011. Ford’s Transit Connect commercial minivan is expected to go on sale in the U.S. next year and an electric version of its popular Focus passenger vehicle is scheduled to launch sometime in 2011. Ford has partnered with Canadian-based supplier Magna International, Incorporated to develop the battery technology for the Focus AEV.
The 2010 Ford Fusion gas-electric hybrid is already in dealer showrooms and is considered by some to be the best value in mid-size hybrids on the market today.
Ford has placed itself at the forefront of electric vehicle development through extensive testing and savvy PR moves including showcasing its European configured Focus RS during “Green Car” segments on the Jay Leno Show.
These primetime appearances have generated a lot of buzz in recent weeks and Gioia says, “It helps dispel the myths around battery electrics, such as that they’re slow, like golf carts, and not responsive. There are a lot of people still afraid of this technology.”
Sue Cischke, Ford’s group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering says, “We recognize that pursuing electrification as one of our technology paths presents unique challenges for commercialization of the vehicles. It requires us to collaborate with new partners, define new business models, connect to a new infrastructure for the vehicles and meet new customer expectations around the globe.”