Ford May Invest $500 Million for Hybrids

By dancurranjr On December 17th, 2009

ford fusionFord will 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, The Detroit News reports.

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, the Detroit News reports.

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.

Ford is the only large U.S. automaker not to reorganize under a government-funded bankruptcy this year. Ford captured a larger market share in November than a year ago and is getting ready to ramp up its vehicle production in North America by more than a half for the first quarter of 2010.


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