Like it did in the Northwest last month, Ford is getting another area of the country ready for electric vehicles. In this case, it's two cities in Texas – Austin and Houston – where Ford is going to do a lot of consumer outreach and education, not only deploying electric vehicle charging stations. Ford's electric vehicle line-up for the next two years includes the Transit Connect, the Focus EV in 2011, two third-generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012).

In Houston, Ford will work with CenterPoint Energy on the programs, which includes:
developing strategies to minimize the emissions and distribution impacts of charging electric vehicles by using statewide system renewable energy resources and more efficient use of household electricity.
That's smart – not sure exactly what it means, but it's smart.

Meanwhile, in Austin (pictured), Ford's partner will be Austin Energy, the utility behind the now-defunct Plug-in Partners. As in Houston, clearing regulatory hurdles for installing electric vehicle chargers is high on the to-do list. By the end of 2010, Austin Energy will offer "a home charging station and other benefits to vehicle owners in its service territory for a small monthly subscription fee." Installing public chargers is also on the agenda.

[Source: Ford | Image: Krikit ♥ - C.C. License 2.0]

PRESS RELEASES

FORD AND CENTERPOINT ENERGY TEAM UP TO PREPARE HOUSTON AREA FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES

* Ford and CenterPoint Energy will work together to develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical infrastructure can support the necessary demand.
* The Ford and CenterPoint Energy collaboration also includes developing strategies to minimize the emissions and distribution impacts of charging electric vehicles by using statewide system renewable energy resources and more efficient use of household electricity. This will be achieved by leveraging and showcasing CenterPoint Energy's smart meter and intelligent grid deployment coupled with Ford's smart charging solutions.
* Over the next two years, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, the Ford Focus Electric passenger car, two third generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012).
* Ford is working with utilities across the country to educate consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support this new technology. Houston is the third stop on the "Charging Into the Future Tour – Ford Electric Vehicle Tour."

HOUSTON: Sept. 14, 2010 – Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and CenterPoint Energy, Inc.'s (NYSE: CNP), electric transmission and distribution subsidiary today announced a collaboration to help prepare the Houston area for the operation of electric vehicles. Ford and CenterPoint Energy will work together to develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical infrastructure can support the necessary demand.

"Ford has a an aggressive plan to bring five new electrified vehicles to market over the next two years including the Transit Connect Electric later this year and the Focus battery electric in late 2011," said Chris Pick, Global Electrification Business Planning Manager, Ford Motor Company. "There is an incredible excitement for electric vehicles in the Houston area. To support the roll out and acceptance of these vehicles in Houston and across the country, it is crucial to work with local utilities to make sure the necessary electric infrastructure is ready."

"Together we will develop strategies to ensure the emissions and distribution impacts of charging electric vehicles will be minimized by encouraging both more efficient use of household electricity and plugging in vehicles at times when renewable energy resources are more likely to be the power source," said Charles Flynn, director of Energy Efficiency Programs for CenterPoint Energy. "Long term, we hope to leverage and showcase CenterPoint Energy's smart meter and intelligent grid deployment coupled with Ford's smart charging solutions."‪

Ford and CenterPoint Energy also plan to work with state and local officials around permitting and regulations to support electric vehicle infrastructure. An easy charging station permitting process is considered one of the keys to electric vehicle acceptance in the Houston area, Texas and across the country.

The collaboration between Ford and CenterPoint Energy was announced during Ford's "Charging Into the Future Tour." The 14-city tour, which kicked off at Portland State University in Portland, Ore. last month, promotes Ford's electric vehicle strategy and educates consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support this new technology.

Over the next two years, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, the Ford Focus Electric passenger car, two third generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012). These vehicles will achieve breakthrough efficiency; some, like the pure battery electric Ford Transit Connect Electric and Ford Focus Electric, will use no gasoline at all.

Electrification is an important piece of Ford's overall product sustainability strategy that includes a range of fuel efficient and alternative fuel technologies including EcoBoost engines, six speed transmissions, power assisted steering, aerodynamic improvements and light weighting materials. Ford's electrification strategy also leverages the most fuel-efficient powertrains, the most technically competent hybrids and our global vehicle platforms in order to develop affordable choices for consumers.

About Ford Motor Company: Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

About CenterPoint Energy:CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total over $19 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. For more information, visit www.CenterPointEnergy.com.


FORD AND AUSTIN ENERGY TEAM UP TO PREPARE AUSTIN AREA FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES

* Ford and Austin Energy will work together to develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical grid can support the necessary demand.
* Ford and Austin Energy also plan to work with state and local officials around permitting and regulations to support electric vehicle infrastructure. An easy charging station permitting process is considered one of the keys to electric vehicle acceptance in the Austin area, Texas and across the country.
* Over the next two years, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, the Ford Focus Electric passenger car, two third generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012).
* Ford is working with utilities across the country to educate consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support this new technology.

AUSTIN, TX: Sept. 14, 2010 – Ford Motor Company and Austin Energy today announced a collaboration to help prepare the Austin area for the operation of electric vehicles. Ford and Austin Energy will work together to develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical grid can support the necessary demand.

"Ford has a plan to bring five new electrified vehicles to market over the next two years to provide a variety of automobile options to the meet the wide range of driving needs consumers have and demand," said Chris Pick, Manager of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure, Ford Motor Company. "There is clearly an excitement for electric vehicles in the Austin area. To support the roll out and acceptance of these vehicles in Austin and across the country, it is crucial to work with local utilities, like Austin Energy, to make sure the necessary infrastructure and demand on the grid are ready."

Ford and Austin Energy also plan to work with state and local officials around permitting and regulations to support electric vehicle infrastructure. An easy charging station permitting process is considered one of the keys to electric vehicle acceptance in the Austin area, Texas and across the country.

"Austin Energy is working aggressively to have a pilot program in place by the end of the this year where the utility will provide a home charging station and other benefits to vehicle owners in it's service territory for a small monthly subscription fee" said Austan Librach, Director, Emerging Transportation Technologies for Austin Energy.

The utility has set up five internal staff efforts to get the City ready for Plug-In electric vehicles. First, there is a group working to establish a grid of public charging stations throughout the area so that people will be able to top off their batteries conveniently. A second effort is geared to updating Austin's building codes and adjusting the permitting process so that vehicle owners will be able to work with the city to have a charging station placed in their garage with no more than a two-day turn-around. In addition, Austin Energy is working nationally on the vehicle communication software to help the utility/customer schedule the best time for charging and has several other groups considering the development of business models, marketing and outreach. Overall, the utility has created a transportation roadmap and timeline to be ready by 2012 for plug-in electric vehicles when they show up at dealer's showrooms in the Austin region.

The collaboration between Ford and Austin Energy is part of a nationwide outreach by the automobile manufacturer to educate consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support this new technology.

Over the next two years, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, the Ford Focus Electric passenger car, two third generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012).

These vehicles will achieve breakthrough efficiency; some, like the pure battery electric vehicles Ford Transit Connect Electric and Ford Focus Electric, will use no gasoline at all.

Electrification is an important piece of Ford's overall product sustainability strategy that includes a range of fuel efficient and alternative fuel technologies including EcoBoost engines, six speed transmissions, power assisted steering, aerodynamic improvements and light weighting materials. Ford's electrification strategy also leverages the most fuel-efficient powertrains, the most technically competent hybrids and our global vehicle platforms in order to develop affordable choices for consumers.

About Ford Motor Company: Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

About Austin Energy: Austin Energy is the 9th largest community-owned electric utility in the country with more than 400,000 customers serving a population of more than 900,000 in the City of Austin, Travis County and parts of Williamson County. Austin Energy has about 3000 megawatts of generation and has led the nation the last eight years in a row for sales of renewable energy by a utility-sponsored program. The Utility created the Plug-in Partners National Campaign and has been a leader in the promotion of electric vehicles
.

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