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Ford to invest $135m in production of components for hybrid-electric vehicles

New lithium-ion batteries among the new technology to be explored.

Ford Motor Company said that it will invest around $135m to design, engineer and produce key components for its next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles.

According to Ford, the engineers in Dearborn will design lithium-ion battery packs while engineers in Livonia will design electric-drive transaxles for the new hybrids, based on its global C and CD car platforms, which are expected to go into production in its Michigan Assembly Plant, North America in 2012.

The Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, will assemble battery packs beginning in 2012 and its Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, will build electric drive transaxles beginning in 2012 from a supplier facility in Japan, the company said.

Ford is expected to invest $10m in capital equipment and add about 40 jobs, to support battery pack assembly at the Rawsonville Plant. It will also design and engineer an electric, front-wheel-drive, continuously variable transaxle to supply its hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles in North America. It will also invest around $125m in its Van Dyke facility to launch the new transaxle.

In addition, Ford is also expected to launch five new full electric or hybrid vehicles by 2013 which includes, Transit Connect Electric; Focus Electric; Lincoln MKZ hybrid; a new hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle based on global C-car platform; and a C-MAX hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric model.

Mark Fields, president of Ford at The Americas, said: "Electrified vehicles are a key part of our plan to offer a full lineup of green vehicles, and we are building a center of excellence in the US, here in Michigan, to keep Ford on the cutting edge.

"Today's announcement is another important step in our larger strategy to launch a family of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles around the world."