Ford Focus Electric (© Ford Motor Company)Click to enlarge picture

Ford Focus Electric

About 25 percent of Ford Motor Co.'s fleet will be electrified by 2020, Chairman Bill Ford wrote in an article for Fortune magazine, published online on Tuesday.

With global oil prices rising and more congestion on the roads, Ford wrote that it is critical for the automakers to build smarter and cleaner-running cars that people will want to drive.

"For the first time in more than a century, some of the most fundamental and enduring elements of the automobile are being radically transformed," Ford wrote.

The company is "hedging its bets" by developing hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles, Ford wrote, because he isn't sure which technology ultimately will prevail.

Ford Motor Co. will introduce its fully electric Focus along with two versions — plug-in hybrid and fully electric — of its new C-MaxX small minivan this year. Late last year, General Motors introduced the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan Motor Co. launched the electric Leaf.

Ford wrote that the key to the budding electric car market is the lithium-ion battery. Asia has the lead in developing these batteries, Ford wrote, adding that the U.S. government should aid in building the American battery industry.

"I think it's a matter of national security to have a competitive American battery industry," Ford wrote. "Washington should increase r&d spending here unless they want to cede the development of batteries to other nations."

Congestion is another key issue, Ford wrote: "A green traffic jam is still a traffic jam."

In response, Ford and other automakers are developing vehicle-to-vehicle communications that will alert drivers to traffic and potentially dangerous situations, and help them find parking spots in crowded cities.

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