Ford Motor Co. said Friday it is requesting $440 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to finance the restructuring of a former SUV plant in Michigan to manufacture small and electric cars, Bloomberg reported.

Ford is seeking the funds from the department's program to promote fuel-efficient vehicles. The program was allocated a total of $25 billion. The company is the only American automaker which has survived the economic downturn without money from the government.

Ford Motor Company said Wednesday it will invest $550 million to transform a former light trucks plant in Michigan to a modern-green facility to produce fuel-efficient small cars such as the next generation Focus and its electric battery version.

The company has set a target to launch four new electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2012. Those vehicles are the zero-emission Focus, powered by a lithium-ion battery; a Transit Connect electric battery commercial vehicle to be sold in North America in 2010. Ford also plans to assemble a next-generation hybrid vehicle and a plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2012.