Ford announced that a Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, able to reach 120 mpg (yes, that's what they say) has already been delivered to utility company California South Edison as "part of unique partnership to advance commercialization of PHEVs." It's the first of a series of 20 vehicles which will conduct a long-term road test.

The Escape batteries can be charged using common household current (120 V in the US) and it takes from 6 to 8 hours. The full charge can power the vehicle up to 30 miles. Once that initial charge is finished, the vehicle works as a standard hybrid, recharging batteries when possible. The battery pack is made from lithium ion high-voltage batteries, from which the press release says "the cost of advanced lithium ion batteries means the technology is currently not economically feasible for widespread vehicle application."

(Note from Sebastian: the actual ceremony to hand over the PHEV Escape is going to happen in about 15 minutes here at EVS23, and I'm on my way there)

[Source: Ford] FORD DELIVERS FIRST ESCAPE PLUG-IN HYBRID TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON

  • First Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) delivered to Southern California Edison as part of unique partnership to advance commercialization of PHEVs
  • Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid with lithium-ion battery achieves up to 120 mpg
  • Two industries connected through a common fuel, changing the transportation and energy future

ANAHEIM, Calif., Dec. 3 - Ford Motor Company's first demonstration Escape Plug-In Hybrid is ready to roll on California roads. Ford today delivered the first of 20 research PHEVs to Southern California Edison to begin road testing as part of a unique partnership between the automaker and utility.

The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid, a research vehicle using high voltage, lithium-ion batteries, can deliver up to 120 miles per gallon which would mean far fewer trips to the gas station. The vehicle uses common household current (120 volts) for charging. Full charge of the battery takes six to eight hours. When driven for the first 30 miles following a full charge, the Ford Escape PHEV can achieve up to 120 mpg when driven on surface streets. The vehicle is not range limited by the amount of charge available in the high-voltage lithium-ion battery, because once the charge in the battery has been depleted, the vehicle continues to operate as a fuel efficient, standard Ford Escape Hybrid. The transition is automatic and unnoticeable to the driver.

The delivery comes just five months after Ford and Southern California Edison announced their collaboration to advance the commercialization of plug-ins by exploring the values of new technologies and new business models when the battery is connected to the home and, in time, the electrical grid.

"The electrification of vehicles has sparked significant interest in this country. The delivery of this Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid research vehicle today represents another step in our development and understanding of the technology and its place in the overall energy picture," said Sue Cischke, senior vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. "PHEVs are one element of our blueprint for sustainability that includes actions ranging from refinements in gasoline fueled engines and transmissions, to the development of hydrogen fuel cells."

"We are united in a common cause," said Lynda Ziegler, Southern California Edison's senior vice president, Customer Service. "We bring our expertise in energy production, delivery and management, and combine it with Ford's expertise in hybrid technology. Together, we are seeking solutions to address the needs of our shared customers and to ultimately help this nation achieve energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "This is not about simply connecting the car to the grid. It's about integrating vehicles and energy storage technologies into the energy system of the future".

The two companies are exploring new business models related to the electrification of vehicles that could help lower the cost of PHEVs to make them more affordable to consumers.

"Although the energy infrastructure is in place, significant challenges remain for widespread adoption of PHEVs," said Cischke. "Cost, durability and reliability issues all need to be addressed before these vehicles can make a significant impact on the global issues of climate change and energy security."

Ford and SCE will jointly conduct testing of the vehicles, some of which may be evaluated in typical customer settings to model overall home and grid values. The testing will provide valuable data related to the durability, reliability and safety of new battery technology. The cost of advanced lithium ion batteries means the technology is currently not economically feasible for widespread vehicle application.



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