C&D Technologies Inc., Blue Bell, said it plans to start a multimillion-dollar battery research facility in the Milwaukee area that will create up to 150 new jobs there in the next four years.

C&D said its initial commitment to build the plant, is valued at between $15 million and $20 million. The plant will design and manufacture a new generation of lithium-ion batteries.

But the company said the commitment is based on the assumption it will receive federal funding for up to four years to cover the bulk of the investment. Chief executive officer Jeff Graves said the company's goal is to develop efficient, lightweight batteries for military use.

He said C&D will cover at least a quarter of the total cost. If the company gets all the money it requests from the government, it will add all 150 new jobs.

Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., helped the company win an $800,000 federal appropriation last month to begin initial research.

C&D said it will create up to 50 research and development jobs in the first two years with early work at a plant it already owns in Milwaukee. Some 261 employees in the Riverwest facility make industrial-size lead-acid batteries.

As research progresses toward production, the company will want new quarters and add 100 jobs, Graves said.

A Milwaukee Common Council committee today will consider a $225,000 loan for C&D, which it would not need to repay after 10 years if it maintained a certain number of jobs.