Ford awarded $10 million grant to speed development of plug-ins

Ford Motor Company has been awarded a $10 million grant by the United States Department of Energy for research, development, and demonstration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Ford received the grant for the continued development of a demonstration fleet of 20 PHEVs. The total project cost is $20 million, and the government will fund 50 percent of the program.

In June, Ford delivered the first flexible fuel capable plug-in hybrid electric SUV to the Department of Energy. The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, capable of running on gasoline or E85, is part of a demonstration fleet Ford is developing in a partnership with Southern California Edison, the Electric Power Research Institute, DTE and Johnson Controls/Saft.

Advanced vehicle testing is underway in California, Michigan and Washington, D.C. The company delivered the first gasoline-only Escape PHEV to Southern California Edison in December 2007.

The Ford Escape PHEV is equipped with a 10 kilowatt advanced lithium ion energy battery supplied by Johnson Controls/Saft that stores enough electric energy to drive up to 30 miles at speeds of up to 40 mph. The battery works in tandem with a small, four-cylinder engine.

Based on current estimates, the vehicle would emit 60 percent less CO2 than a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. The CO2 reduction would reach 90 percent if cellulosic ethanol is used in place of gasoline.