Car fanatics like to talk of the open road, a sense of adventure, and the amazing places and faces they meet when road tripping. They don't like to talk, not as much anyway, about the highway system. So, if you're and AutoblogGreen reader who's into The Drive, thanks for stopping by, but this post is about the highway system. Well, a modern equivalent, anyway.

The only way that plug-in electric cars are going to reach their full potential is with the installation of a smart grid. I'm not saying the current electric grid is dumb, but it is. Electricity meters are located on building, and PHEVs might require sanctioned meters on the vehicles themselves. And not just any meters either, but meters that can be set to purchase energy only at certain times or prices (storing the energy for later use in the PHEV's battery) and upload energy back to the grid when demand is strong. If you'd like to know more on the potential of a smart grid, click on any of the links at the end of this post.

The news in all of this is that at the end of April, the GridWise Alliance and the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability will be holding a major conference, called "GridWeek 2007," at the end of April to see just how quickly a smart grid can be implemented in America. I'm guessing it'll come sometime after the Chevy Volt's production version is released and two decades before the hydrogen economy is up and running.

GridWise is made up of many big players in the energy industry. What surprises me is that Southern California Edison, which will be bringing smart meters to every customer in California by 2013 and is a huge proponent of plug-in vehicles, is not a member. Is there a story there?

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[Source: GridWise Alliance]

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