Ford Motor Company and Progress Energy are working together to help prepare the Research Triangle area of North Carolina for the operation of electric vehicles. The two will develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical grid can support the demand.
Ford and Progress Energy also plan to work with state and local officials to address issues relating to the permitting and regulations that can support electric vehicle infrastructure. An easy charging station permitting process is considered one of the keys to electric vehicle acceptance.
Progress Energy is one of 10 utilities that have partnered with Ford to test 20 plug-in hybrid Ford Escapes to obtain data on durability, reliability and safety of the new battery technology.
In addition to testing two plug-in hybrid Ford Escapes, the company owns seven other plug-in electric vehicles for research purposes including the Southeast’s first plug-in hybrid electric utility bucket truck, and it is expanding its partnership efforts with the auto industry to test additional vehicles. Progress Energy is developing a charging station pilot program as part of a $200 million smart grid grant it received from the US Department of Energy. This will include installing about 600 stations across the company’s territory in the Carolinas and Florida. The company has also partnered with several universities on electric transportation initiatives, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and the University of Florida.