Representatives from Ford and Southern California Edison were obviously quite excited about a big event on Monday at EVS23, where Ford's Sue Cischke (second from left), senior vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering and Nancy Gioia (right), director, Sustainable Mobility, drove up in a plug-in Ford Escape hybrid right to the doors of the Anaheim Convention Center. There, two representatives from SCE (whose names I misplaced. Sorry) took the keys to the PHEV, which marked the first of 20 such vehicles that Ford will give to SCE for in-fleet and (coming in the second year of the program) customer testing. I spent some time conducting interviews using my video camera and will post those later (neither Ford nor SCE would give out a lot of technical information - information on the batteries and the battery supplier, for example, are being kept under wraps), but there was lots of cheerful hope that this program will deliver good things to both companies.

The PHEV Escape is a solid (seeming) vehicle. I didn't get a ride, but Ford must have a lot of confidence in this SUV to let SCE get its hands on twenty of them. The 20 will be rolled out in such a way that later versions will be changed based on feedback from the early models. Some parts of the Escape PHEV are already pretty sweet. My favorite part of the PHEV Escape interior is the information screen/computer, where Ford saw fit to include an input page where the driver can set the current cost of gasoline and electricity which then allows the vehicle to tell the driver how much each mile costs and the amount of fuel saved. You can see a close-up of the screen here and we'll have a video of the screen in action (and lots more) once I get a chance to edit things together.

Until then, here are the little speeches given by the participants as part of handing SCE the keys to Ford's exciting new PHEV Escape. Give them a listen (7 min, 1.8MB).

UPDATE: Videos of the event - and that screen - are now available here.

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