Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and CenterPoint Energy, Inc.’s (NYSE: CNP), electric transmission and distribution subsidiary announced a collaboration to help prepare the Houston area for the operation of electric vehicles. Ford and CenterPoint Energy will work together to develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical infrastructure can support the necessary demand.
“Ford has a an aggressive plan to bring five new electrified vehicles to market over the next two years including the Transit Connect Electric later this year and the Focus battery electric in late 2011,” said Chris Pick, Global Electrification Business Planning Manager, Ford Motor Company. “There is an incredible excitement for electric vehicles in the Houston area. To support the roll out and acceptance of these vehicles in Houston and across the country, it is crucial to work with local utilities to make sure the necessary electric infrastructure is ready.”
“Together we will develop strategies to ensure the emissions and distribution impacts of charging electric vehicles will be minimized by encouraging both more efficient use of household electricity and plugging in vehicles at times when renewable energy resources are more likely to be the power source,” said Charles Flynn, director of Energy Efficiency Programs for CenterPoint Energy. “Long term, we hope to leverage and showcase CenterPoint Energy's smart meter and intelligent grid deployment coupled with Ford's smart charging solutions.”
Ford and CenterPoint Energy also plan to work with state and local officials around permitting and regulations to support electric vehicle infrastructure. An easy charging station permitting process is considered one of the keys to electric vehicle acceptance in the Houston area, Texas and across the country.
The collaboration between Ford and CenterPoint Energy was announced during Ford’s “Charging Into the Future Tour.” The 14-city tour, which kicked off at Portland State University in Portland, Ore. last month, promotes Ford’s electric vehicle strategy and educates consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support this new technology.
Over the next two years, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, the Ford Focus Electric passenger car, two third generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012). These vehicles will achieve breakthrough efficiency; some, like the pure battery electric Ford Transit Connect Electric and Ford Focus Electric, will use no gasoline at all.
Electrification is an important piece of Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy that includes a range of fuel efficient and alternative fuel technologies including EcoBoost engines, six speed transmissions, power assisted steering, aerodynamic improvements and light weighting materials. Ford’s electrification strategy also leverages the most fuel-efficient powertrains, the most technically competent hybrids and our global vehicle platforms in order to develop affordable choices for consumers.