Michael Morris, Chairman and CEO of American Electric Power, believes that the U.S. electrical grid is capable of supporting up to 60 million plug-in hybrid vehicles right now. In a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, the chief of the biggest electricity supplier in the United States said that up to 20 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet could be switched over to plug-in capability and the grid would be fine. Like other proponents of plug-in vehicles, Morris feels that PHEVs would actually help improve load balancing on the grid if they are plugged in during off-peak hours. Of course, getting the maximum benefit from this would require large numbers of plug-ins, as well as implementation of smart meters that could optimize charging during those off-peak times while limiting the load during the day. Such meters could also potentially support vehicle-to-grid technology. Ford is currently testing a plug-in version of the Escape hybrid with Southern California Edison while GM plans to introduce a plug-in version of the Saturn Vue 2-Mode hybrid in late 2009, followed by the Volt in 2010. Toyota will also start fleet tests of a plug-in Prius in 2010.

[Source: Ward's Auto World]


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