Ford Unveils System for PHEVs to Communicate with the Electric Grid

Stromlade-Infrastruktur

ford-system-phevs-electric-grid-18082009 Ford unveils today that it has developed an intelligent vehicle-to-grid communications and control system for its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that “talks” directly with the nation’s electric grid.

This technology allows the vehicle operator to program when to recharge the vehicle, for how long and at what utility rate.

All 21 of Ford’s fleet of plug-in hybrid Escapes eventually will be equipped with the vehicle-to-grid communications technology. The first of the specially equipped plug-in hybrids has been delivered to American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio. Ford’s other utility partners’ vehicles will also be equipped with the communications technology.

When plugged in, the battery systems of these specially equipped plug-in hybrids can communicate directly with the electrical grid via smart meters provided by utility companies through wireless networking. The owner uses the vehicle’s touch screen navigation interface and Ford Work Solutions in-dash computer to choose when the vehicle should recharge, for how long and at what utility rate.

For example, a vehicle owner could choose to accept a charge only during off-peak hours between midnight and 6 a.m. when electricity rates are cheaper, or when the grid is using only renewable energy such as wind or solar power.

Over the past two years, Ford and its energy industry partners have logged more than 75,000 miles on the plug-in hybrid test fleet. The plug-in hybrid research focuses on four primary areas: battery technology, vehicle systems, customer usage and grid infrastructure.

Ford recently was selected for two grants from the Department of Energy under its fleet electrification program. The program is designed to accelerate viable commercial volumes of electrified vehicles and vehicle-to-grid infrastructure development.

One grant, for $30 million, will help fund Ford’s collaboration with utility partners across the nation with an expansion of a vehicle demonstration and grid integration program.

Ford also will receive a $62.7 million DOE grant for production of an electric-drive transaxle that could be used for hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles at Ford’s Van Dyke transmission manufacturing facility in Sterling Heights, Mich. This grant will be matched by Ford.

DOE grant funds also will support production of electric-drive system components at Ford supplier Magna, for the Ford Focus battery electric vehicle, as well as Johnson Controls-Saft, which will supply high-voltage batteries for Ford’s plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2012.

Ford plans to invest nearly $14 billion in advanced technology vehicles in the next seven years.

(mp/wattgehtab.com)

 


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