Ford Receives a $10 Million Government Grant to Study Plug-In Hybrid Technology ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Ford Receives a $10 Million Government Grant to Study Plug-In Hybrid Technology

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ford Receives a $10 Million Government Grant to Study Plug-In Hybrid Technology

Ford received a $10 million grant to study plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) from the U.S. Dept of Energy. Ford will use the money to continue working on its twenty plug-in hybrid vehicles. The study is costing $20 million, so the DOE is picking up half the tab.

"This is really aimed at figuring out how to work through what's needed both on demonstration fleets and interface with the utilities to commercialize plug-in hybrids," said Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of sustainable mobility technologies and hybrid vehicle programs.

Ford is building 20 plug-in Hybrid Escapes for the study, 11 of which they expect to have finished by the end of the year. The first flex-fuel hybrid was delivered to the DOE in June, 2008. The first Escape PHEV was delivered to Southern California Edison in December, 2007.

Ford is working with Southern California Edison, the Electric Power Research Institute, Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions LLC, and DTE Energy, Michigan's largest utility to study plug-ins. Ford is expected to expand the partnership to include other utilities, including one in Canada.

The study is looking into how plug-ins fare in different climates and different altitudes. Also, can they set up a proper standard for plug-ins and how they interact with the electric grid.

The study is expected to last three years and will involve some consumers who will provide user feedback to the automaker and utilities.

The Ford Escape PHEV is equipped with a 10 kilowatt advanced lithium ion energy battery supplied by Johnson Controls/Saft that stores enough electric energy to drive up to 30 miles at speeds of up to 40 mph. The battery works in tandem with a small four-cylinder engine.

Based on current estimates, the vehicle would emit 60 percent less CO2 than a conventional gasoline powered vehicle. The CO2 reduction would reach 90 percent if cellulosic ethanol is used in place of gasoline.

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