Over the next few years, Ford will be launching a number of green vehicles in Europe, as well as the United States, including hybrid and electric vehicles. This strategy builds on the Ford vision of bringing affordable fuel-efficient technology to millions of people in a variety of markets. Instead of a single vehicle or technology, Ford wants to offer a wide range of technology solutions to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions for customers around the world.Later this year, the Ford plant in Valencia, Spain will launch the newest Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX, which will run on the new Ford EcoBoost engine. The EcoBoost engines feature better fuel efficiency and lower emissions than conventional gasoline engines. The C-MAX has been produced for the European market since 2003, but starting in late 2011, the Valencia plant will also produce a 7-seat version of the C-MAX to be exported to the U.S. So, if you’ve been admiring this vehicle from afar, you’ll soon be able to find one at your local Cleveland Ford dealer.There are three types of electric vehicles that Ford will produce in the next few years, including hybrid electric, all-electric, and plug-in hybrid electric. In 2011, Ford will produce a Transit Connect Electric, which will be the first of five electrified vehicles under development as part of the global electrification strategy at Ford. This vehicle is being produced by both Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics, and will feature Azure’s Force Drive battery electric drivetrain. It will be available in European markets, with no news yet of whether or not a version will be available in the U.S.So what makes the Transit Connect an optimal vehicle for electrification? For starters, the Transit Connect is a commercial van, whose users often travel predictable, short routes with frequent stops in tight urban or suburban areas. This type of driving results in a negative impact on the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines. Also, commercial drivers generally return to a central location at the end of the day, which is perfect for recharging the battery overnight. The Transit Connect will have a targeted range of up to 130 km/80 miles on a full charge, a top speed of 75 mph, and will be rechargeable using standard European outlets. A full charge is complete in 6-8 hours. The best thing about this type of vehicle? Since it runs completely on lithium-ion batteries, it won’t use any fuel, and will have ZERO exhaust emissions.In the next few years, more electric cars will be introduced to both the European and U.S. markets. In 2012, the Ford Focus Electric will become available. It will be fully electric, just like the Transit Connect, with zero emissions. The lithium-ion batteries can be charged to last for about 100 miles of driving. The Focus Electric will also feature a user-friendly interface similar to the Ford Fusion Hybrid’s award-winning SmartGauge.Some more good news about these electric cars is that it will help bring more jobs to the U.S. Azure Dynamics is a Michigan-based company, and many Ford plants in Michigan will be producing and engineering the components that run these vehicles. Starting in 2012, the Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, will assemble the battery packs that are currently being assembled in Mexico. Also in 2012, Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, will build the electric drive transaxles, adding a combined 170 jobs at the Rawsonville and Van Dyke facilities to build these key components.Ford’s Product Development team is participating in two European trials to demonstrate the technology of electric vehicles in real world driving conditions. This will allow them to generate feedback which will help to further develop both the Focus Electric and the Transit Connect Electric for market acceptance in Europe. Hopefully, such trials in the U.S. market will soon follow, as Americans are just as concerned about fuel efficiency and the environment.Further out in 2013, we’ll see two next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles, as well as a plug-in hybrid, including electric versions of the C-MAX. As the technology behind electric vehicles keeps increasing and evolving, the future of Ford vehicles keeps looking greener.