US auto giant Ford is accelerating its research, development and testing of Li-ion battery technology, thanks, in part, to a $55m (£37.8m) tax credit incentive from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
These batteries, Ford said, are 25 to 30 per cent smaller and 50 per cent lighter than NiMH batteries, and will be five per cent more energy efficient.
They will be used to power a pure battery electric (BEV) Transit Connect commercial van in 2010, a BEV passenger car developed jointly with Magna International by 2011, and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and next-generation hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) by 2012.
The vehicles use a common US household 120V power source for charging, with a full charge of the battery completed within six to eight hours.
In addition, it has entered into research partnerships with eight regional electrical utility companies to conduct real-world tests on Li-ion-powered Ford Escape PHEVs.