Future Ford Hybrids Will Tell Energy Grid When To Power Up

Ford has come up with a smart new system that enables drivers to tell their hybrid car precisely when and how long to charge from the grid—potentially helping you to save money on electricity.

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.

"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."

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.

In other words, you could program your car to charge during off peak hours or during times when renewable energy is being used. So it's green and efficient—impressive. [AutoblogGreen via HotHardware]