Ford Motor Company has announced 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 new technology – which builds on Ford’s advancements such as SYNC, SmartGauge with EcoGuide and Ford Work Solutions – 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.