Ford has decided to build battery packs for electric cars at its Rawsonville Plant

The project is part of Ford’s plan to create 1,000 new jobs by 2012 as it invests $450 million in Michigan to assemble, develop and build electric and plug-in electric cars and lithium ion batteries.

Ford said in January that it would build three electric vehicles at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne and said it would assemble hybrid lithium ion batteries packs in the state, but did not announce the location.

A letter to employees dated March 30 on UAW Local 898’s Web site says, “We …are pleased to announce that the Rawsonville Components Plant has been selected to be the supplier of the hybrid battery packs to the Michigan Assembly Plant.”

Details related to the timing and jobs are still being worked out, according to the letter, which is signed by Rawsonville Plant Manager Kirk Wurtzel and Joel Goddard, chairman of UAW Local 898, which represents workers at the plant.

The initial number of jobs created might be fairly low but will increase over time as demand for electric vehicles increases, said Brett Smith, a director with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, but will increase over time as demand for electric vehicles increases.

General Motors’ $40 million battery pack assembly plant in Brownstown Township is expected to employ about 100 people.

In addition to the battery pack work, the letter to the Rawsonville employees said Ford and the UAW’s leadership are also, “actively seeking new profitable business to bring to the plant because….some of the existing products are not competitive and are losing money.”

Ford’s Rawsonville Plant opened in 1956 and employs about 780 workers, according to Ford’s Web site. Currently, the plant makes air induction systems, starters, carbon canisters and other parts.

“We are pleased to be bringing this work to Michigan and we will have more details to share about it soon,” Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Moore said today.

Ford’s decision to invest in Michigan was given a boost when the Michigan Economic Growth Authority granted Ford $188 million in tax credits in January. The growth authority approved a $78-million tax credit for Ford to assemble battery packs in Michigan and $110 million in job retention and other tax credits to assemble vehicles at Michigan Assembly.