Will Plug-In Hybrids Tax Our Power Grid?

March 27, 2008

It’s hard to keep a plug-in hybrid going without a source of power -- but if everyone plugs in at night or during the day, what happens to the nation's power grid?

Ford Motor Company and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are trying to find out. The automaker and the Institute have linked up in a three-year partnership that will develop and evaluate ways to incorporate plug-in hybrids into the electric grid system.

Ford is in the process of producing 20 plug-in Escape Hybrids for testing around Los Angeles, but this partnership in New Jersey will allow them to expand their tests to a much larger scale. The partnership with the “EPRI brings [Ford's] collaborative efforts related to the potential of plug-in electric vehicle technologies to a new level,” according to Nancy Gioia, director of Sustainable Mobility Technologies at Ford.

The new partnership, Ford says, will ideally lead to solutions to many of the problems with current plug-in hybrids such as battery costs and charging strategies.

Once the impact of plug-in hybrids on the electric grid system is assessed, Ford says it will work out ways to make the ideal widespread use of plug-in hybrids a reality. At the same time, the study could lead to a more efficient use of the national electric grid system.

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