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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ford to Invest $500 million in EVs

Ford are looking to invest up to $500 million for its hybrid vehicle projects and create more than 1,000 new jobs in Michigan if state lawmakers expand an existing incentive program and approve $85 million in tax credits, according to the Detroit News.

If Ford's needs are met, the company will go ahead with plans to design and assemble battery packs for a new generation of hybrid vehicles in Michigan, and possibly even make a new hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle based on the Ford Focus platform it plans to launch in Detroit in January.

Last year, Michigan lawmakers authorized tax credits for the assemblage of high-capacity lithium-ion battery packs, but Ford is now requesting them to expand the incentives to include lower-capacity batteries used in hybrid vehicles.

Ford is specifically requesting $85 million in tax credits from the program through 2014, and on top of that, an additional $35 million beyond 2014 if the lithium-ion cells for the battery packs are made in Michigan.

Currently auto-parts supplier Delphi assembles the battery pack for Ford's current hybrid vehicles in Mexico according to Reuters. Ford says the change it is trying to make is in no way a reflection of Delphi's performance. Rather, it represents Ford's desire to set itself apart from competitors through battery development.

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