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Ford's Escape plug-in hybrid test program has found another electric utility partner for its field test program. Hydro-Quebec has been selected by Ford and the Electric Power Research Institute to join the three-year program. Hydro-Quebec has received one of the 21 Escape PHEV's built by Ford for testing. The utility will be testing the crossover on its grid and also to determine how well a PHEV can perform in cold Quebec winters.

Hydro-Quebec is the primary electricity provider in the Canadian province and produces 98 percent of its power from renewable sources, primarily hydro-electric dams. The Escapes use a lithium ion battery pack provided by Johnson Controls-Saft to provide enhanced hybrid capability for up to 30 miles on a full charge. Ford's program is involves a number of utilities around North America in order to gather data on real world interactions between plug-in vehicles and the grid, as well as measuring actual performance. The Ford press release is after the jump. Thanks to Jeff for the tip!

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[Source: Ford, Montreal Gazette]
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid, Sebastian Blanco / Weblogs, Inc.

PRESS RELEASE:

FORD AND HYDRO-QUÉBEC WORK TOGETHER TO DEVELOP ELECTRIC VEHICLES
  • First Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) delivered in Canada to Hydro-Québec, the largest electricity generator in Canada.
  • Collaboration between Ford and utilities is key to advance commercialization of electric vehicles.
  • Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid with lithium-ion battery achieves up to 120 mpg (2 L/100km).

MONTRÉAL, Québec, June 9, 2009 – Ford Motor Company and Hydro-Québec announced today that Hydro-Québec has joined a North America wide demonstration and research program on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Ford, in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), is undertaking a three-year test program on the Ford Escape PHEV designed to develop and evaluate technical approaches for integrating PHEVs into the electric grid. EPRI has identified nine utilities across North America to test drive the vehicles and collect data on battery technology, vehicle systems, customer use and grid infrastructure. In total, Ford will provide 21 vehicles for the real-world trials. Hydro-Québec is the only Canadian company participating in the North American Ford PHEV Program.

Vehicle electrification is a sound environmental choice that may play an important role in the fight against climate change. Furthermore, it could be advantageous for consumers to refuel at plug rather than at the pump. Refueling costs for an average vehicle driven 18,000 km per year would be $244 as opposed to $1,383, which is 6 times less costly.

"We have to work towards replacing oil by electricity, at least for personal and urban transportation. The transport sector accounts for 42% of Québec's greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could be achieved through the electrification of transport in Québec, where 98% of the electricity is produced from renewable sources, would be considerable. Hydro-Québec is committed to doing its part in this area," noted Thierry Vandal, Hydro-Québec's president and CEO.

The average consumption of one million all-electric vehicles, which represent 25% of Québec's cars, is 3 TWh,(one billion kilowatts per hour) the equivalent of the annual generation of the Carillon hydroelectric facility.

The electrification of vehicles has sparked significant interest in the U.S.A and Canada. PHEVs are one element of Ford's blueprint for sustainability that includes actions ranging from refinements in gasoline fueled engines and transmissions, to the development of battery electric vehicles.

"The delivery of this Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid vehicle today represents another step in our development and understanding of the technology and its place in the overall energy picture," said Nancy Gioia, director, Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle programs at Ford Motor Company. "We believe collaboration with utility companies to explore new business models, standards, infrastructure, and communication between vehicle and electric grids will be a key component to advancing the commercialization of electric vehicles in the coming years."

The collaboration between Hydro-Quebec, Ford and EPRI represents a valuable contribution to the development of commercially viable plug-in hybrid electric vehicles," said Arshad Mansoor, Vice-President of Power Delivery and Utilization at EPRI. "The expansion of field testing into Canada will enable us to gather the data required for the seamless integration into the grid while providing real world driving experience."

The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid, a research vehicle using high voltage, lithium-ion batteries, 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 (48 km) following a full charge, the Ford Escape PHEV can achieve up to 120 mpg (2 L /100 km) 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.



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