Ford and Southern California Edison
Partner on PHEV Research
July 13, 2007 - Clean Edge News
Southern California Edison are combining resources
to explore ways to make plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles
more accessible to consumers, reduce petroleum-related
emissions and improve the cost-effectiveness of the
nation's electricity grid.
Describing teamwork between their industries as essential
to making progress on energy security and climate
change, the heads of the Ford Motor Company and Edison
International, the parent company of Southern California
Edison (SCE), recenty announced the nation's
first collaboration to examine the future of PHEVs
as part of a complete vehicle, home and grid energy
"The Ford Motor Company team is firmly focused
on delivering products people really want. This unique
partnership with Southern California Edison will allow
us to explore new solutions for our customers';
growing need for energy conservation," said
Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer
of Ford. "By combining strengths, ours in hybrid
technology, theirs in energy management, we can consider
transportation as part of the broader energy system
and work to unleash
"The challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions
and increasing our nation's energy security
reach across industry boundaries and unite us in a
common cause," said John E. Bryson, chairman
and chief executive officer of Edison International.
"Partnerships between automakers such as Ford and
electric utilities such as Edison demonstrate the
innovative leadership position that both companies
hold in seeking and finding solutions to global and
Ford and Edison intend to explore many of the potential
benefits of widespread PHEV use, which include enhanced
energy security, reduced greenhouse gas emissions,
lower fuel costs and more cost-effective use of the
nation's electricity grid.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technologies are not
yet competitive due primarily to the high cost of
advanced batteries. Ford and SCE will explore whether
these batteries have other uses that could reduce
their cost to consumers. For example, a popular vision
of plug-in hybrid automotive technology is the potential
for owners to charge their vehicles in the evening
when the cost to produce electricity is low, and then
store and use that energy during peak hours of the
day, when electricity costs are high. Advanced batteries
also could store energy from rooftop solar panels
more efficiently. The two companies will evaluate
and model the potential economic value of such innovative
Also, batteries currently have no residual value priced
into the purchase cost. Ford and SCE believe it might
be possible to develop a market for the untapped value
present in used plug-in hybrid electric vehicle batteries
at the end of their vehicle life.
And, Edison's nationally recognized Electric
Vehicle Technical Center in Pomona, Calif., is testing
advanced battery technologies that could further enhance
the emergence of future energy storage applications
in the utility industry.
Ford-Edison Project to Evaluate Potential Values of
- Fueling at the plug instead of the pump would be
cheaper for consumers.
As a transportation fuel, electricity is 50 percent
to 75 percent less expensive than the equivalent cost
of a gallon of gasoline. The diverse mix of energy
sources used to generate the nation's electricity
supply is priced lower and is more stable than the
cost of petroleum.
- The use of plug-in hybrid vehicles holds the promise
of reduced greenhouse gases and enhanced energy security.
Plug-in hybrid technology offers the opportunity to
use as transportation fuel the nation's growing
renewable generation portfolio as well as surplus
Plug-in hybrids produce less carbon dioxide and pollutants
than gasoline hybrids. Such environmental and financial
benefits will increase as a larger percentage of the
nation's transportation needs is fueled from
the power grid.
- Using off-peak electricity to fuel transportation
could increase grid productivity and help bring down
the price of electricity for utility customers.
Each night, a large percentage of America's
power generation infrastructure sits idle. A recent
study by the U.S. Department of Energy1 estimated
that if every light duty car and truck in America
today used plug-in hybrid technology, 73 percent of
them could be plugged in and fueled by excess capacity
in the electricity grid without constructing a single
new power plant.
- Smart plug-in vehicles could become part of an integrated
smart home and grid energy system of the future.
Untapped consumer benefits could be obtained by adding
to the traditional utility system the energy storage
and retrieval capacity of a large number of advanced
batteries in plug-in hybrid vehicles. For the first
time, excess power generated by home-based units such
as rooftop solar generation could be stored and used
when needed by the property owner.
Ford-Edison Project Components
- Ford and Edison intend to undertake a multi-million
dollar, multi- year PHEV evaluation and demonstration
- Ford will provide SCE with a demonstration fleet
of 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid SUVs that will be benchmarked
for performance characteristics. The Escape hybrid
platform will then be engineered by the Ford product
development team, with a battery company partner yet
to be named, to be fully PHEV capable.
- Some of the vehicles will be evaluated in typical
customer settings in order to model overall home and
grid values this technology could tap.
- Additional project funding may be sought from participants
such as the Electric Power Research Institute, the
U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission
and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
- Ford will initially work exclusively with SCE to
develop the testing procedures and define its initial
demonstration fleet. As Ford's plug-in hybrid
program grows, the automaker will look for broader
participation as it develops a business model not
just for Southern California, but potentially nationwide.
SCE has worked for more than 20 years with all major
automakers and will continue seeking alliances between
the two industries that advance plug-in hybrid technology.