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Ford plans to sell battery-powered van in 2010


DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is planning to put a fully electric car in showrooms by 2011 that will get up to 100 miles on a single charge and plans to offer plug-in versions of its hybrid vehicles a year later.

Ford announced its strategy for electric vehicles Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, offering a broad description of plans for both hybrid and purely electric-powered vehicles.

The Dearborn-based automaker said it also plans to have a battery-powered commercial van on the market in 2010 and reports indicate it would be modeled after the Transit Connect van.

It wasn’t mentioned where the new van would be produced, and Avon Lake Mayor Karl Zuber said he had not heard anything about the Ohio Assembly Plant being involved.

The Detroit News reported this summer that Ford would bring the Transit to the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake to replace the Econoline.

“I think their plans are still in progress,” Zuber said. “I think that the whole industry’s hurting, and basically they’re waiting to see what happens.”

Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said the company is also working on four high-mileage battery-electric vehicles to be introduced in the coming years.

Ford said the company’s electrification strategy is “perfectly aligned with our nation’s growing interest in advanced technologies that can help reduce our usage of gasoline.”

“We’re employing a comprehensive approach to electrification that will tackle commercial issues such as batteries, standards and infrastructure,” Bill Ford said.

In an effort to make electric vehicles appeal to a mass market, Ford said the company is teaming up with utility companies in California, and local governments in Colorado and China to develop projects that can help fuel usage of plug-in, eco-friendly vehicles.

Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of global product development, said the automaker expects to start out selling 5,000 to 10,000 electric vehicles annually.

Ford also plans to bring its European Fiesta subcompact car to the U.S. next year and is looking to drum up excitement for the vehicle by letting selected people test drive the car this summer and share their experiences on social networking Web sites.


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