Ford Motor makes rivals green with envy

Jan. 12, 2010 at 12:00 PM

DETROIT, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Automotive giant Ford Motor Co. announced plans to invest $450 million to develop electric vehicles and batteries to spur green energy technology in Michigan.

With the automotive sector in the midst of the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford Motor Co. joined other automotive giants with ambitious plans to move away from conventional fossil fuels for their vehicle lines.

Ford said it will invest $450 million in an "aggressive" plan to develop electric vehicles at Michigan plants. The announcement comes on the heels of plans to invest $550 million to convert a sport utility vehicle plant in Michigan to a production facility for its Focus hybrid and Focus electric vehicle lines.

Bill Ford, the executive chairman at the automotive company, said the investment is part of a plan to address "critical" issues in the economy, energy market and the environment.

As part of the plan, Ford said it would move production of lithium-ion battery systems from Mexico to Michigan to stimulate the state's embattled economy.

"Vehicle electrification is part of our ongoing strategy to diversify Michigan's economy and make the state a center for green and advanced manufacturing," said outgoing Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

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