£1 billion investment boost for Ford Essex
Dunton in Essex is set to play a pivotal role in a five-year £1 billion investment from Ford Motor Company aimed at reducing emissions and fuel consumption across a huge range of the firm’s many models.
As Ford’s main R & D centre for petrol and diesel engine development and transmission development, Dunton will handle the design of five new petrol engines and three advanced diesel engines. The diesel motors are expected to be assembled at its Dagenham Diesel Centre.
Over 100 models and derivatives will be improved and Ford predicts that when its green programme is complete, the Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group (PAG) fleet will save the equivalent of the total annual CO 2 emissions of Newcastle Upon Tyne every year.
The development of a range of global environmental technologies will apply to the company’s Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo brands and is the largest commitment yet to the environment by a carmaker in the UK.
This doubles the rate of environmental spending in the past and is part of a broad strategy for the company’s Ford of Europe and PAG business units that will deliver an extensive list and variety of technologies including lightweight, hybrid electric and bio-fuel vehicles.
Based on Department of Trade and Industry figures, Ford Motor Company is already the fourth-largest R & D investor in the UK, spending around £1 billion a year or 80 per cent of all automotive R & D in the country.
Since 2001, Ford Motor Company has invested over £10 million to improve the environmental performance of all its facilities in the UK. Its Dagenham Diesel Centre was the first automotive plant in the world to obtain all its electrical power from wind turbines .
Of the 9,500 engineers that work at Ford, Jaguar and Land Rover R & D centres in the UK, 3,700 are based in Essex, 3,500 of them in Dunton.
To deliver the improvements, Ford and its brands will focus on five key technology areas: An all-new generation of lightweight aluminium vehicles and other weight saving actions; Direct injection gasoline and advanced diesel engines and new transmissions; Hybrid electric systems tailored for different customers, regions and market segments; Alternative fuels capability; and a range of vehicle efficiency improvements and technologies to improve driver behaviour.
Dunton’s largest work will be on the direct injection gasoline and advanced diesel engines and new transmissions. Five all new petrol engines will be offered with advanced direct injection technology – fuel injected directly into the chamber for more efficient combustion with much finer control.
Selectively, these will be further enhanced with pressure charging, stop/start capability and advanced valve actuation. This intended to provide customers with smaller eng-ines while enjoying the same performance and improved drivability, but with a CO 2 saving per unit of up to 20 per cent.
Three advanced diesel engines will be launched with further CO 2 improvements of five to 10 per cent per unit. Plans also include four new and advanced transmissions that through more efficient matching of gearing to engine speed will deliver CO 2 savings per unit of five to 10 per cent.
Ford’s CTO, Richard Parry Jones, said: “The size of the challenge we face is enormous. There is a body of scientific work that shows globe is heating up, but there is no agreement on the level of CO 2 stabilisation required.
“We believe we have to follow a multiple technology strategy for three reasons. First, there is no single technology on the horizon that will enable the automotive industry to play its full part in stabilising levels of atmospheric CO 2.
“Second, we also cannot say for certain which way the market will go in the future and how much regional differences will play a part. Ultimately it will be customers who decide which technologies best suit their needs.
“And finally, as vehicles get cleaner and cleaner the technological challenge to eke out further improvement increases. By deploying multiple technologies we are able to make a series of small and medium size gains and leverage our range of vehicles and sales volume.
“By applying the technologies we develop across our product portfolio we will be offering customers more than 100 models and derivatives with improved tailpipe emissions or fuel economy performance over the next six years.”
The unparalleled collaboration between the 9,500 engineers that work at Ford, Jaguar and Land Rover R & D centres in the UK will also bring together engineers from Volvo in Sweden and Ford’s engineering bases in Europe and worldwide.
Ford of Europe and PAG chairman and CEO, Lewis Booth, said: “Climate change is one of the greatest single challenges facing the auto industry and society today. By pooling our engineering investment, our brands will develop a broader range of technologies, available faster than they could afford individually.
“And by deploying these technologies across the breadth of our product range ‹ mass market and premium products, passenger cars and commercial vehicles ‹ we can deliver far more significant reductions in the total amount of CO 2 generated by our total vehicle fleet.”
In addition to the design, engineering and manufacturing facilities for the Ford brand, Ford Motor Company also owns Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover, which are all headquartered in the UK and design, engineer and build all their vehicles here. Ford Motor Company also owns Volvo and a 33 per cent share of Mazda Motor Corporation.
Ford Motor Company is the UK’s largest automotive employer and skills trainer.
Collectively the brands employ around 33,000 people in the UK, more than all other major auto manufacturers combined.