ANAHEIM, Calif. -- In a step toward commercializing plug-in hybrids, Ford Motor Co. has delivered the first of 20 experimental plug-in Escape SUVs to a California utility.
Sue Cischke, Fords senior vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, and Nancy Gioia, director of Sustainable Mobility, turned over the first Escape plug-in to representatives of Southern California Edison in a ceremony Monday at the 23rd Electric Vehicle Symposium, a four-day conference being held here this week.
The utility will conduct extensive tests on the vehicles, then allow them to be driven by members of the public for further testing starting in 2009.
The vehicles use a high-voltage lithium ion battery that allows them to drive 30 miles on electricity alone. Gioia said most people drive 30 miles or less per day.
Ford refused to disclose the battery supplier.
The 30-mile range assumes the vehicle is fully charged, operating in ideal weather and load conditions, and driving no faster than 45 miles per hour in stop-and-go city driving. If the vehicle is driven the full 30 miles on electricity, it can achieve 120 miles per gallon, Ford said.
The vehicle would take six to eight hours to charge, using common household current. Once the battery is depleted, the vehicle operates like a normal hybrid.
Southern California Edison will test the vehicles at an electric vehicle evaluation center in Pomona, Calif., before placing them with customers.
The utility industry and the car industry are sharing the same customer. Weve got to be sure we do this right, said Ed Kjaer, director of electrical transportation for Southern California Edison.