Ford seeks tax credits to make batteries

MICHIGAN - Ford Motor Co. said it could invest up to $500 million in Michigan for the development and production of batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles if it wins state tax credits.

Ford, which has been assembling batteries from auto supplier Delphi Corp. in Mexico, said it plans to start producing its own battery systems for the next generation of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles beginning with an electric Transit Connect in 2010 and an electric Ford Focus in 2011.

The Focus will be built in Michigan.

Derek Kuzak, Ford's global vice president of product development, said in a conference call that Ford wants to hire up to 1,000 workers for the project.

It is seeking around $120 million in tax credits earmarked for companies that develop batteries. Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of global electric strategy, said she is in talks this week with Michigan leaders but didn't give a deadline for a decision.

Kuzak said many companies have already moved battery production in-house as battery and car design become increasingly interrelated.


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