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Ford extends with Hydro-Québec electric company
The Escape plug-in hybrid PHEV research program

Ford Escape PHEV.

In its first 30 miles (48 km) following a full charge, the Escape PHEV can achieve up to 120 US mpg (144 Imp. mpg, 1.96 litre /100 km, 51 km per litre) when driven on surface streets.


16 June 2009.

Confirming its long term commitment in hybrid vehicles development, Ford Motor Company announced last week a new collaboration with Canadian Hydro-Québec electric company in a North America wide demonstration and research program on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs. See also Ford's already known testing program for the Escape Plug-In Hybrid and Edge HySeries Drive).

Compared to the current generation of hybrid vehicles, one of the main advantages of a plug-in hybrid is the availability of an electric plug allowing to recharge the car's lithium-ion batteries from a common household current, during the night, or even during the day at the office. This would enable the PHEV to be used, either an electric vehicle for short distances, or as a hybrid one.

For example, the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid electric vehicle, a research vehicle using high voltage, lithium-ion batteries, can be fully charged from a common household current (120 volts) within six to eight hours.

Ford Escape PHEV: plug for recharging the batteries.

Ford Escape PHEV: lithium-ion batteries, can be fully charged from a common household current (120 volts) within 6-8 hours.

Ford says that in its first 30 miles (48 km) following a full charge, the Escape PHEV can achieve up to 120 mpg (144 Imp. mpg, 1.96 litre /100 km, 51 km per litre) when driven on surface streets. The vehicle is not range limited by the amount of charge available in the high-voltage lithium-ion battery, because once the charge in the battery has been depleted, the vehicle continues to operate as a standard Ford Escape Hybrid. The transition is automatic and unnoticeable to the driver.

In collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Ford is undertaking a three-year test program on the Ford Escape PHEV designed to develop and evaluate technical approaches for integrating PHEVs into the electric grid.

EPRI, which conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public, has identified nine utilities across North America to test drive the vehicles and collect data on battery technology, vehicle systems, customer use and grid infrastructure. As an independent, non-profit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. Its members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries.

In total, Ford provides 21 vehicles for the real-world trials. Hydro-Québec is the only Canadian company participating in the North American Ford PHEV Program. Owned by the Québec government, Hydro-Québec generates, transmits and distributes electricity, using mainly renewable generating options, in particular hydropower, and supports the development of wind energy through purchases from independent power producers.

Ford says that vehicle electrification does not only play its role in the fight against climate change, as it could also help consumers to refuel at plug rather than at the pump. According to Ford figures, refuelling costs for an average vehicle driven 18,000 km (11,185 miles) per year would be $244 (electric plug) as opposed to $1,383 (at a petrol station), which is 5.6 times cheaper.

The electrification of vehicles has sparked significant interest in the U.S.A and Canada. PHEVs are one element of Ford’s blueprint for sustainability that includes actions ranging from refinements in gasoline fuelled engines and transmissions, to the development of battery electric vehicles.

“We believe collaboration with utility companies to explore new business models, standards, infrastructure, and communication between vehicle and electric grids will be a key component to advancing the commercialization of electric vehicles in the coming years,” said Nancy Gioia, director, Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle programs at Ford Motor Company.

See also: Ford Escape Hybrid with L.A. lifeguards, 9,000 rescues with 25% fuel saving.

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