Ford Motor tries to become no.1 in fuel economy, accelerating the development of its electric and hybrid vehicles.

The US automaker recently announced it plans to invest $135 million to double its battery testing capability by 2013 and to design parts for its new collection of electrified vehicles. Ford has around 1,000 engineers, and it plans to hire more to achieve its plan in beating Toyota’s record on fuel economy. Ford already began manufacturing its own hybrid transmission.

“We’re not wed to any one specific technology,” said Kevin Layden, head of electrification programs and engineering. “I’m free to play the field and I’m very comfortable with that.”

Improving fuel economy is of utmost importance for Ford, as it expects EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids to account for 25% of its global sales by 2020. By the end of this year the automaker plans to launch five EVs and hybrid versions for it C-Max crossover and Fusion midsize sedan.

Although the C-Max crossover beats the Toyota Prius V with 47 miles per gallon compared with 44 miles per gallon, Toyota still dominates the market with the Prius hybrid family. According to this year’s results Toyota accounts for two-thirds of the US EV and hybrid market, while Ford represents 3%.


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