PARTNERS IN PROGRESS: ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE
DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2009 – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is collaborating with Ford Motor Company on a three-year analysis to evaluate technical approaches for integrating Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) into the nation’s electric grid system, a key requirement to facilitate widespread adoption of the vehicles.
Who: EPRI, with major locations in Palo Alto, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., and Knoxville, Tenn., is an independent, nonprofit center for environmental and energy research. The institute brings together member organizations, scientists, engineers, all working to develop solutions to the challenges of electric power. EPRI’s members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S.
What: The study will provide an extensive, varied database of real-world, first-hand information regarding PHEVs, according to President and CEO Steve Specker. Working with a collaborative of utilities and a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape PHEVs, the institute will track the driving experiences of customers and employees. “We’ve had an electric transportation program for more than 30 years, including an active PHEV program for 10 years,” Specker said. “We have always thought that it is very important we get first-hand, real-world information from all types of driving in different parts of the country.” This information will enable utilities to understand how to best accommodate the vehicles and their owners and to illuminate any design changes – whether in the vehicles or the electric grid system – necessary for PHEVs to succeed.
“We want to make sure that the electric grid is an enabler, not a barrier to the usage of PHEVs,” said Michael Howard, senior vice president of research and development at the institute. “Our No. 1 priority is that the early users of PHEVs have a positive experience.”
When: While the study is on-going, it’s important to note that utility industry is a strong supporter of PHEVs. “It’s a win-win situation for consumers and utilities,” Specker said. “In most parts of the country, electric generating plants are under-utilized, except for a few peak hours. PHEVs would help utilities even out their usage and manage their assets better.”
Where and Why: The Electric Power Research Institute, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, released an assessment in 2007 that finds widespread use of PHEVs in the U.S. could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the potential for improved ambient air quality. The research measured the impact of increasing numbers of PHEVs between 2010 and 2050 and includes the nationwide impact of potentially large fleets that would use electricity from the grid as their primary fuel source.
Key findings include:
- Widespread adoption of PHEVs - a 60 percent market share - could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 450 million metric tons annually in 2050 – equivalent to removing 82.5 million passenger cars from the road
- There is an abundant supply of electricity for transportation; a 60 percent U.S. market share for PHEVs would use just 7 percent to 8 percent of grid supplied electricity in 2050.
- A 60-percent market share of PHEVs could improve nationwide air quality and reduce petroleum consumption by 3 million to 4 million barrels per day in 2050.
# # #
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 224,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.