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Ford invests US$450M in hybrid, electric technology

Ford Executive Chairman, Bill Ford, has announced that his company will invest another US$450 million (AUD$489 million) in the short term to develop hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) technology.
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It takes the company’s total investment to US$1 billion ($1.09 billion) when added to the US$550 million earlier slated for the overhaul of the Michigan Assembly Plant.

The large SUV factory will be completely retooled to allow for the production of the new Focus, Focus EV, and other alternative fuel vehicles built on the global C-car platform.

Mr Ford said hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles would roll off the born-again production line in Wayne from next year.

“This investment underscores how serious we are about delivering a range of electrified vehicles to customers,” he said.

The Focus EV is due for production in 2011, while a plug-in hybrid and a “next-generation” hybrid both based on the same C-car platform will join it in 2012.

The next-generation hybrid will be powered by lithium-ion batteries designed and built in Michigan, with construction of hybrid transaxles also to commence at its Van Dyke Transmission Facility in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Ford is expanding its electric program further this year with the launch of the new Transit Connect BEV commercial van, which was earlier this week named the 2010 North American Truck of the Year at the Detroit Motor Show.