ANDY KUMMER: ENGINEER INJECTS VOICE OF CUSTOMER INTO FORD'S FIRST BATTERY ELECTRIC CAR
- One of Andy Kummer's responsibilities as supervisor of Vehicle Integration for Ford's Battery Electric Vehicle program is to make sure the voice of the customer is reflected in the development of Ford's first battery electric car
- Kummer works together with his team to make sure all vehicle attributes operate in harmony
- Kummer is a Michigan native, currently living in South Lyon
Providing the voice of the customer is an important facet of Andy Kummer's job as supervisor of Vehicle Integration for Ford's Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) program.
With plans underway to launch Ford's first battery electric car in 2011, Kummer is focused squarely on understanding what customers want and working with the various technical experts on the BEV team to make sure they get it.
After scouring data from market research, consumer focus groups, trade magazines and previously evaluated vehicles, Kummer says one of the top customer concerns regarding battery electric vehicles is range anxiety – not knowing exactly how far the vehicle will travel on a single charge.
Many factors can affect range. For example, if the team proposes adding more battery cell capacity, beefier tires may be required to manage the increased vehicle weight. Beefier tires often have added rolling resistance which then may have a negative impact on range.
"My role is to communicate with our teams of technical experts and ensure we don't lose sight of one attribute while trying to optimize another," said Kummer. "We have to work together to find alternatives so we can balance providing the customer with a no-compromise vehicle while addressing any anxiety about how far a charge will take them."
Range is just one of a number of vehicle attributes that Kummer takes into consideration on a daily basis. Others include vehicle safety, quality, durability, climate control and comfort, performance feel, vehicle dynamics, and noise, vibration and harshness.
"We collect all the information and make sure we have a balanced system that is seamless to the customer," he said. "Our goal is to make certain that all vehicle attributes work together in harmony."
Kummer says he enjoys working in such a challenging, fast-paced environment.
"The company, the industry and the nation are undergoing changes to try and gain energy independence, and the products that we're working on speak directly to that," he said. "That, to me, is very exciting and very energizing."
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Kummer is a Michigan native. He was born and raised in Livonia and currently lives in South Lyon.
- Kummer is married and has two children.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com .
Oct. 5, 2009