Ford and the North Carolina electric company will also be working with local universities and state and local governments. Although this initiative will be centered in Raleigh with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University participating, it is just the beginning of a plan to ease the public into an electric vehicle future.
“The city of Raleigh has been working with Progress Energy along with the Rocky Mountain Institute and Advanced Energy as its ‘Project Get Ready’ partners,” said Raleigh Assistant City Manager Julian Prosser. “The prospect of teaming with Ford Motor Company to further prepare Raleigh for the coming of plug-in electric vehicles as a new, cleaner means of motoring for our residents is a tremendous opportunity that we welcome.
One of the first pieces of the joint project will be an educational component for consumers part of which is Ford’s multimedia educational website on hybrids (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and pure electric vehicles (EVs). All of the different types of electric vehicles are covered and the technology is explained in easy to understand terms.
“There is an incredible excitement for electric vehicles in the Raleigh area. To support the rollout and acceptance of these vehicles in Raleigh and across the country, it is crucial to work with local utilities to make sure the necessary electric infrastructure is ready and to help consumers understand the technology choices they will have available to meet their transportation needs,” said David Finnegan, Electric Vehicle Marketing manager, Ford Motor Company
In furthering the growth of EV infrastructure, Ford and Progress Energy will be working with state and local government officials on the permitting process and regulations. With everyone working together it should be easier to build the infrastructure necessary for EVs to become practical. Progress Energy is working towards installing 600 charging stations across North and South Carolina, and Florida as part of a smart grid grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Ford will be providing Progress Energy with two PHEV Ford Escapes for testing purposes. Those two PHEVs will bring Progress Energy’s total PHEV fleet to nine including a plug-in hybrid bucket truck. All of the vehicles are part of Progress Energy’s EV testing program. That program tests the durability, reliability and safety of the vehicles particularly the safety of new battery technologies.
Both companies along with the local universities and governments promise to provide an optimum working EV infrastructure and improved electric vehicles for consumers of the future beginning in North Carolina.