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Ford Canada chief executive officer, David Mondragon, told a group of people attending a business luncheon at a Toronto-area hotel that electric vehicles (EVs) will account for the slimmest fraction of the market by 2020. Mondragon explains that consumers may opt for more fuel-efficient cars if gas prices creep up, but, he said, buyers will not embrace EVs unless either a dramatic shift in behavior occurs, or prices of battery-powered vehicles drop substantially.

As Ford prepares to start selling the Transit Connect Electric later this year and the Focus Electric in 2011, it has to thoroughly test the lithium ion battery systems used in these vehicles. To help accelerate the process, Ford has equipped all of its test vehicles and the battery packs being tested in the lab with wireless remote monitoring systems.

U.S. President Barack Obama gets out of a Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford closed out the 2010 SAE World Congress with a reminder: "All the early cars were electric." Why do so few people remember that electric cars date back more than a hundred years? Ford suggested it's because, electric cars have "been around really for the past century or so, but they really haven't had mass market appeal." There's the answer: without mass market appeal, technologies will be forgotten.

Ford Motor Company's development of upcoming battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) has been, so far, an outside job. Electric versions of the Transit Connect and the Ford Focus were developed with the help of suppliers Azure Dynamics Inc. and Magna International Inc., but Ford has not ruled out producing future BEVs in-house. As Ford's director of electrification programs Sherif Marakby stated:

Who will be the main players in the electric vehicle space?

2012 Renault Fluence Z.E.

Ford Transit Connect Electric – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford Transit Connect Electric – Click above for high-res image gallery

We heard from Ford CEO Alan Mulally yesterday about his company's overall work with the U.S. government on energy policy. He's not the only Ford representative at the show worth talking to at the Washington Auto Show, though, and we got to sit down with Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of global electrification, for an update on the company's plug-in vehicle projects.

Next-gen Ford Focus live unveiling – Click above for high-res image gallery

2011 Ford Focus – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford Focus BEV- Click above for high-res image gallery

Drew Barrymore takes the Green Car Challenge - Will any of these guys be able to beat Drew's lap time?

Drew Barrymore drives the Focus BEV - Click above to watch the video after the break

Jay Leno's Green Car Challenge Ford Focus EV - Click above for high-res image gallery

Jay Leno's Green Car Challenge Ford Focus EV - Click above to watch video after the jump

Jay Leno's Green Car Challenge Ford Focus EV - Click above for high-res image gallery

Jay Leno's Green Car Challenge Ford Focus EV - Click above for high-res image gallery