The federal government has invested $10 million to attract a top researcher in hybrid vehicle technologies to an Ontario university.

McMaster University announced yesterday that Ali Emadi, a well-known American developer of electric powertrain technology, will join the university in conjunction with the development of a hybrid vehicle research facility.

The government investment, albeit small, is part of a broader push to expand Canada’s research and development capacity in the area of green vehicle technologies.

In December, auto parts giant Magna International Inc. and the federal government announced a $7.2-million research effort with the goal of developing lighter-weight, more environmentally-friendly auto parts.

In the U.S., President Barack Obama has said he wants one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 and has invested billions of dollars in car makers to help accomplish that.

And both Canada and the U.S. announced last month that new cars and light trucks will be subject to stringent new rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more fuel efficient, starting in 2011.