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EPRI and Ford to Develop Approaches for Integrating PHEVs Into Grid

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Ford Motor Company have entered a three-year agreement to develop and evaluate technical approaches for integrating plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) into the nation’s electric grid system.

EPRI will form a collaborative of utilities in the New York-New Jersey area that will test Ford Escape PHEVs. Subsequent trials will be conducted with customers of the participating utilities. Ford is also working with Southern California Edison (SCE) to facilitate advancing PHEVs, and is the first major automotive manufacturer to partner with the utility industry. (Earlier post.)

Ford has designed and is building 20 Escape PHEVs for testing in the Los Angeles area under the Ford-SCE partnership. With this new EPRI-Ford agreement, Ford will expand the evaluation and demonstration program to include other utilities.

The new EPRI-Ford program will build on the ongoing Ford-SCE partnership and help determine regional differences in how the operation of PHEVs will impact the electric grid system.

This partnership represents a concerted effort by the transportation and electric sectors to work together in advancing PHEV technology. This effort should accelerate the pace of PHEV development while enabling the utility industry to prepare for the introduction of these vehicles.

—Dr. Mark Duvall, EPRI program manager for Electric Transportation

EPRI, Ford and SCE’s research and analysis on the Ford PHEVs will include data from four primary areas: battery technology, vehicle systems, customer usage, and grid infrastructure. The analysis will also explore possible stationary and secondary usages for advanced batteries.


Harvey D

Even if many other studies have demonstrated that:

1) PHEV-BEV can be recharged at reduced night rates during off peak periods with existing power plants.

2) Intelligent use of V2G and B2G could help peak demand periods and stabilize the power grid.

a ,ulti-vehicle real world demonstration with PHEVs or BEVs will supply the data required to confirm previous findings and evaluate the wear on the battery packs.

John Taylor

It sounds like Ford has begun to realize that the future will be powered by electricity.

Healthy Breaze

I think it is going to take Tesla, or their ilk, to write the controller software to determine when to start drawing power from the grid, how fast to draw, and how much to charge. There are many considerations.

*Cost of power, by time of day
*Lifetime of battery
*Time available before car is needed again
*Ease of operation
*Load balancing of total system

My expectation is that the system will pretty easily be made very intelligent, and there will eventually be a "spot" market for night time charging, designed to spread the load most efficiently from a grid and power generation point of view.

Harvey D

Healthy Breeze:

Agree with you.

These requirements could be pre-programmed into the PHEV-BEV on board computer or the home smart charger. This way, the power grid operator could not over-discharge your batteries nor discharge them just before they are needed.

V2G must be transparent and not unduly reduce batteries life.

GM Volt Fan

I think GM ought to highly consider bringing this car to America .... the 2008 Holden 60 Coupe. All I could say is .... wow, this is like the perfect exterior design for the Volt. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if I could.



Holden is a GM subsidiary from Australia. Put the E-Flex powertrain in it. Somehow price it around $35,000 (after good government incentives) and I guarantee you that GM would have a hard time keeping up with demand for it.

Put series hybrid (Volt) technology under the skin of a nice looking car like this and it could be a phenomenon .... the biggest car in GM history maybe. It would be like the Tesla Roadster and get a lot of good publicity and reviews. A real attention getter. It would probably help make all the new hybrid electric cars be in high demand and really get the electrification of the automobile going.

If GM wants to have a really good "halo car" to be the flagship for GM technological leadership this would be it. :)


The trick would be the grid operator posting prices for power for the next say 8 - 24 hours on an hourly basis.

Your machine would know how many KWH of power it would need for the next day, and how many it could take, if the power was cheap enough.

Thus, it might know, tomorrow is Tuesday, and I will need an additional 10KWH to get to work and back (based on learned commuting patterns). It would pay more or less any price for this power: however, it might know that it could take an additional 20 KWH, but would not pay much for that bit.

The power grids could give a margin of error for each hour's power, this would be zero for the first few hours, growing until the error margin swamped the price and there was no point in quoting.

Another point that people have made is that maybe you want to do b2G with separate batteries to the ones in your car.

Stationary batteries could be much heavier and less shock resistant than automotive ones.

You could use automotive ones, but they might be too expensive to risk for V2G, unless you were sure you had many excess cycles.

Plus, if you take V2G out of the equation, you make it easier to plan for charging needs.

This is a fascinating area - one where electronics and AI meet automotive, and one where there could be a lot of progress.

We might see Google coming up with a "Charge Rank" algorithm, or protocol and algorithm.


We might see Google coming up with a "Charge Rank" algorithm, or protocol and algorithm.

To be honest, I don't think it's that hard of a problem. It's just a simultaneous optimization of several parameters.


George is right. Not that big a problem unless the utility is made to carry alternative power resources e.g. neighborhood or municipal solar/wind installations. These would be priced independently just like alternative telco contracts.

Another, far easier approach is for low cost third party inverters that will sync to grid (net metering). This lets consumers choose to sell power from BEVs back to utils at their discretion. Utils would have added resource though not on-demand. Load leveling would then remain the responsibility of the util.


Ford has been working on a plug Escape and may continue on with the Fusion. It is good to see them coordinating with the utilities so that we have some planning up front. The utilities can handle it, but need to know in advance.

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