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Ford added the production of electric vehicles on the second North American site

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it is adding the production of a fully electric vehicle at a second North American plant as part of the $11 billion investment plan last year.

FILE PHOTO: The Ford logo is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, USA, January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it is investing about $900 million in southeast Michigan and the creation of 900 jobs by 2023 as part of the electric car to push it. That includes a plan to invest more than $850 million for the expansion of the production capacity at the Flat Rock, Michigan, plant to build EVs.

“When we take a look at our $11 billion investment in the electrification, it became clear to us that we were going to need a second factory in the not-too-distant future, adding capacity for the battery-electric vehicles,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of global operations, said in a telephone interview.

Ford is negotiating an alliance with Germany’s Volkswagen AG to cooperate in electric and autonomous vehicles. Hinrichs said that those conversations are positive, but there was nothing to announce.

Ford in January 2018 said it would increase planned investments in electric vehicles, the $11 billion in 2022 and 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in the model line-up. That investment figure was from the previous target of $4.5 billion in 2020.

Car makers are encouraging investment in the development of ev’s in part because the pressure from regulators in China, Europe and California to slash carbon emissions from fossil fuels. They are also pushed by electric car manufacturers such as Tesla Inc.

Of the 40 vehicles, Ford said at the time that the 16 would be fully electric, and the rest would be plug-in hybrids.

The Flat Rock plant, which currently 3,400 people, builds the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental cars. The plant investment includes adding a second shift and the financing of the building of the next generation Mustang.

Ford was already planning an all-electric sport utility vehicle in 2020, which will be built at the Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker also said Wednesday that the construction of the first self-driving vehicles for use by commercial customers in a new manufacturing center in southeast Michigan starting in 2021, and built with the next generation of the North American Transit Connect commercial and passenger van in Mexico from that same year.

The next-generation Transit Connect small van will be built at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant and increases the AMERICAN and Canadian vehicle content in accordance with the proposed new North American trade agreement, according to the company. The vehicle is built in Spain.

Hinrichs said he is optimistic Congress will agree with the proposal of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Susan Thomas

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