Ford C-MAX Hybrid

From 2012, Ford will sell the C-MAX in North America, but only as a hybrid (Photo: Ford)

Ford is getting serious with its plans for electric vehicles.

The U.S. carmaker announced Thursday it is tripling its production capacity of electric vehicles in North America by 2013. And it will bring to North America the European-developed C-MAX as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid only. That “brings a stronger business case” than the original plan to introduce a gasoline-powered version of the car in North America, Ford said.

Ford will begin production of the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX plug-in hybrid at its assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, in 2012. The vehicles will have locally sourced lithium-ion battery packs.

The move is part of a plan to greatly expand production and sales of electric vehicles worldwide. In North America, Ford currently sells about 35,000 electric vehicles a year. They include the Fusion and Escape Hybrid models.

By 2013, the carmaker wants to have electric-vehicle production capacity of more than 100,000 units.

Ford wants to concentrate its electric-vehicle operations in Michigan and said it would be adding 220 “green technology jobs” there.