Ford will get $55 million from the State of Michigan to continue development of battery technologies to be used in electric vehicles.

At least one American automotive company is trying to escape the recession through innovation. Ford Motor Company has just been awarded $55 million in incentives from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm announced the award, which will come from refundable tax credits given out to companies in electric vehicle technologies, and advanced battery research in Michigan. Those credits are made possible through the Michigan Advanced Battery Credits, a bill passed by the Michigan House of Representatives in December, and later signed into law by the governor.

Ford plans to use the money to continue their development of "next-generation hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles." Ford is said to be working on four new electric vehicles for release by 2012. These include a fully electric Ford Transit Connect commercial van, a plug-in hybrid for 2012, and possibly an additional plug-in hybrid.

They have also teamed up with auto tech firm Magna International in the development of an all-new, all-electric passenger vehicle. That car should come out in 2011, with a range of about 100 miles.

Ford exec Nancy Gioia was quoted in the release as saying, "These promising technologies give us the opportunity to transform our transportation and energy future." Gioia runs the sustainable technologies and hybrid vehicles divisions at Ford. Noting that Michigan's battery credits are a first in the nation, she continued to say, "Government support is essential to achieving the potential for electrified vehicles in the future. Michigan's groundbreaking program accelerates our ability to expand and focus our engineering and research efforts here."

Amongst the provisions, the law provides up to $2,000 in credit per battery pack produced, and up to $15 million annually if a minimum of 1,000 full-hybrid and electric vehicles are produced. Another $10 million is allowed for annual cost of battery engineering (capped at $30 million over time), and up to $25 million per year for battery cell production (capped at $100 million).

General Motors has been granted $43 million from the program for their work on batteries to be utilized by the Chevrolet Volt, on the condition they build a battery manufacturing facility in southwestern Michigan. McLaren Performance Technologies (not the same as the McLaren Automotive you know), also received a grant of about $100,000 per year for 10 years.

Gallery: Ford Receives $55 million in Tax Credits for EV Battery Development