Editor’s Note: This is a guest contribution by Nancy Gioia, Ford’s Director of Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs.
It’s clear electric vehicles (EVs) will be part of the transportation mix of the future.
President Obama has set ambitious goals for wide-scale adoption of EV technology. Advances in battery technology will help bring more electrified vehicles to market for consumers and the desire to reduce CO2 emissions has increased attention on transportation alternatives like electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
At Ford, we understand the development and production of the vehicles will be just one part of the total electric transportation equation. While we’re well on our way to delivering the vehicles, and this remains a key focus of ours, we also know that for the vehicles to be adopted on a wide scale, the infrastructure to support the technology needs to be in place and we need to ensure that the national electric grid will be able to support the expected increased electric demand.
This is why Ford is working with electric utility partners across the country to understand the connectivity between the vehicle and the grid. Ford has worked closely with Southern California Edison since 2007. We have expanded that partnership to also work with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the US Department of Energy and 10 additional electric utilities across North America to collaboratively address the many challenges related to electrifying transportation. Together, we have already conducted more than 75,000 miles of plug-in hybrid testing with our demonstration vehicles.
As a result of this collaboration, Ford last month unveiled one of the industry’s first vehicle-to-electric grid communications and control systems. This system enables electric vehicles to interface with the grid for optimal recharging. And by optimal, we mean optimal for both the consumer and the electric grid. This technology would allow customers to program their vehicles to pull energy from the grid during specific times periods, when electricity is cheaper. This could save the customer money and reduce demand on the grid during those peak times of energy use.