Manitoba Hydro is the electric utility in the Canadian province of Manitoba. They've just announced a new research and development project to test plug-in hybrids. They want to evaluate the impact that large numbers of electric vehicles are going to have on their electricity production and distribution infrastructure. The company has converted a 2005 Toyota Prius with a larger battery that can be plugged in and charged from any 120V outlet. The battery has enough capacity to propel the Prius for about 30 miles on electricity alone. The conversion was done by CS Energy in Monrovia, California.
The utility will be collecting data on the car in normal use. They are looking for data on how much power is used by the vehicle in operation and also the charging current. All of this data will help the company plan what their future infrastructure needs will be. Large scale adoption of plug-in vehicles in the future could put a lot of extra strain on the power grid so the infrastructure needs to be beefed up to accommodate it. Manitoba Hydro has been doing a lot research into alternative fuels like biodiesel in addition to the current work on the plug in hybrid.

[Source: Manitoba Hydro via GreenCarCongress]

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