Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on October 20, 2007
Members of Ford Motor Company’s Sustainable Mobility team recently joined Southern California Edison in the hopes of perfecting the plug-in hybrid. Sounds like a good team when you consider that it was Ford who brought us the world’s first hybrid SUV and that Edison currently holds the nation’s record forthe largest and most advanced electric vehicle fleet.
The problem with existing plug-in vehicle technologies, according to an article at Ford.com, is that they’re not competitive or commercially viable – mainly because the current batteries needed to run them aren’t up to consumer demands in terms of price, durability or reliability. But Ford and Edison are striving to change that, to develop a plug-in that will take over the masses, that will consume the consumer.
The advantage to fueling at the plug instead of the pump is obviously that it’s less expensive, it reduces petroleum-based greenhouse gases and, if charged at night, would help balance the nation’s energy grid by utilizing electricity during off-peak hours. According to their website, Edison is already offering a substantial savings to customers who charge their electric vehicles between 9:01 pm and 11:59 am.
Basic engineering on the vehicle has begun and the development team is on to phase two. Working with a plug-in Escape Hybrid prototype in conjunction with a 2008 production Escape Hybrid, the two companies are working together to compare the two vehicles to determine the level of technology needed and what usage patterns are currently in existence for customers.
“We’re looking for a solution that will be broader than just the technology,” said Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of Sustainable Mobility Technology. “We understand the technical challenges to plug-ins, but we also need to understand how plug-ins really fit into the electric grid, and how we develop a business model that could actually make this technology accessible and affordable down the road.”
No time frame has been announced, but you can bet there will be plenty of interest.