Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township to build hybrid battery packs
FordÂ will soon build battery packs for electric cars at its Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township, a decision that helps to secure the plant’s future and create an unknown number of new, highly-skilled jobs, the Detroit Free Press reports today.
The Free Press, citing a letter addressed to employees, said the project is part of Ford’s plan to create 1,000 new jobs by 2012 as it invests $450 million in Michigan to assemble, develop and build electric and plug-in electric cars and batteries.
The UAW Local 898 website posted the March 30 letter, signed by the Rawsonville plant manager and plant UAW chairman. It reads, in part, "We also learned and are pleased to announce that the Rawsonville Components Plant has been selected to be the supplier of the hybrid battery packs to the Michigan Assembly Plant.
"Details regarding timing and headcount are still being worked out; however, we wanted to share this great news immediately."
Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Moore told The Associated Press on Saturday said the company would have more to say later.
The announcement is good news for Ypsilanti Township, which is seeing another of its auto plants close. The General Motors Corp. powertrain plant will close this year, leaving the township scrambling to replace the taxes it will lose when its largest taxpayer closes.
Ford’s Rawsonville Plant opened in 1956 and employs about 780 workers, according to the company website. The plant now makes air induction systems, starters, carbon canisters and other parts.
Dearborn-based Ford announced in January that it planned to invest another $450 million and create jobs in Michigan as it further consolidates its electric vehicle program in southeast Michigan.
The initial number of jobs created might be fairly low but will increase over time as demand for electric vehicles increases, Brett Smith, a director with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, told the Free Press.
U.S Congressman John Dingell, whose district includes Ypsilanti Township, praised Ford for its decision Saturday.
"Our corner of Michigan is becoming a hotbed for such activity, with GM's Brownstown facility building a similar product and A123 Batteries hiring workers at facilities in Ann Arbor and Romulus," Dingell said in a statement. "These kinds of projects will help strengthen our economy and our environment as well as decrease our reliance other countries for oil."