Click above for high-res image gallery of the Ford Focus EV

Those looking forward to Ford's upcoming electric vehicle, based on the next-gen global Focus platform, should be writing thank-yous to Magna International. It turns out that the prototype mule that's been running around the streets of Detroit (with our own Sam Abuelsamid behind the wheel) was actually built by engineers at the Canadian auto parts supplier to show Ford that it could be done and that Magna was the company to do it.

Ford was suitably impressed, so much so that the Blue Oval announced that a production vehicle based on the design would make it to market by 2011 after a second prototype was built using similar technology. Range from the lithium-ion battery pack will be limited to around 100 miles, depending on how and where the car is driven.

According to the automaker, last summer's high gas prices were the main driving force behind the decision. Now that President Obama appears ready to grant California it's air quality waiver, the decision makes even more sense and also allows Ford to maintain pace with cross-town rival General Motors and Japanese automakers like Honda and Toyota.

[Source: Detroit News]

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