According to retired Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering Bob Fascetti, Ford and other automakers could bring electric motor design and production in-house “to an extent,” minimizing the extent to which automakers rely upon external suppliers for the electric motors that drive battery-electric and hybrid vehicles. In an interview with Richard Truett of Automotive News, Fascetti said it’s “never too early” for automakers to start planning out how to retool for electric motor production.
“That’s applicable as you move to new technology, and it’s a very responsible question to ask,” Fascetti told Automotive News.
Ford in late-2015 announced a $4.5-billion investment in electrification that would lead to the introduction of 13 new hybrid and battery-electric vehicles by 2020. It stands to reason that a considerable amount of capital could be saved by not having to pay a supplier for the development and production of electric motors to be used in such vehicles.
Asked whether today’s internal-combustion-engine engineers could make the leap to designing electric powertrains, Fascetti said that the latter required “a different skill set,” but that Ford has “very responsible training programs for both engine and transmission experts so that they can move into those [new] areas.
“We’ve done lunch-and-learns where we have brought over powertrain engineers to the Ford engineering lab, where the electrification team works. They’ve explained what they do and how they do it. And people come on board because of that.”