Ford Motor Company has announced an intelligent vehicle-to-grid communications and control system for its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The system is meant to exchange data with the electric grid in the “smart grid” future. The data exchange is meant to help recharge the onboard battery pack without strain on the electric grid, and potentially to serve as an energy storage system for the electric grid.
This development fits into a larger picture where, supposedly, widespread adoption of electric vehicles can only be done in conjunction with developing the “smart grid”. The smart grid is able to communicate with devices on the power grid, tailor power demand by communicating data over the grid, and tapping on power storage systems on the grid to even out power demand.
“Electric vehicles are an important element of our strategy for improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions,” said Bill Ford, Ford’s executive chairman. “This vehicle-to-grid communication technology is an important step in the journey toward the widespread commercialization of electric vehicles.”
Currently Ford has a fleet of 21 plug-in hybrid Escapes and is going to update them with their new vehicle-to-grid system. One such vehicle has been built and delivered to American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio.
The graphics included with the press release show a touch-screen display allowing the driver to select the maximum electricity rate ($/kilowatt-hours) at which they’ll allow vehicle recharge, the end-time when the vehicle has to be recharged, and the time period for a daily recharge. To enable consumers to select an electricity rate requires widespread deployment of time of use metering, presumably this is part of the smart grid.
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