Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ford Motors and So Cal Ed Team Up for Plug-In Hybrids

Ford Motor Company and utility Southern California Edison have announced a partnership to test up to 20 hybrid-electric vehicles in "real world" settings. Ford will provide So Cal Ed with 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid SUVs to be reconfigured as a plug-ins by 2009. The utility will test the vehicles by giving them to 20 customers who will be monitored in their use. Ford also plans to work with an as-yet unnamed battery company to make the plug-ins for the tests.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said he expects the company to start selling plug-in hybrids to the public in 5-10 years. This is the first time that Ford has offered a timeline for plug-ins hybrids.

A plug-in hybrid differs from a traditional hybrid car in that the battery is charged using a regular household outlet. The driver may be able to go about 30 miles a day on battery power alone (about the average U.S. commute) and then plug it into the house to charge over night. If one were to travel further, the car would switch over to gas.

This technology is off the drawing board and onto the streets already:
Lots of people are taking matters into their own hands and converting their hybrid to be plugged in. Recently, Google announced plans to give more than $10 million to advance plug-in hybrid technology.

GM began development work this year on its own plug-in hybrid car. GM showed off a concept version of the Chevrolet Volt in January.

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