Magna International, a Canadian supplier for Ford Motor Company, shocked Ford execs by showing up at Ford's Dearborn offices in a fully electric Ford Focus. They'd bought and converted the vehicle themselves, keeping the project a secret.
The surprise, along with a bleak market and the new focus on fuel efficiency after last year's tumultuous gas prices, prompted Ford to announce an all-electric vehicle based on Magna's Focus at the Detroit Auto Show. The vehicle was announced for intended production in 2011.
Detroit News claims that Ford's electric vehicle program "has been operating at warp speed since last summer." Formerly lacking much development in electric propulsion, Ford has increased the pace dramatically. They intend to be ahead of the curve if gas prices spike again, which they believe is more likely than not. Thus Project M was born, based on the continued development of Magna's electric Focus. And while GM's 2011 Chevy Volt was more of a far-off promise at the beginning stages of development, Ford was apprently putting plug-in hybrid prototypes through comprehensive driving tests.
The proposed Project M Focus will deliver a range of about 100 miles and be a boon to both Ford (who will have to meet stringent new emissions standards such as those about to be signed into law in California and 13 other states) and to Magna International, who will be a parts supplier for the vehicle. It will be underpinned by the next-gen Focus platform due in the U.S. in 2010.
[source: Detroit News]