Plug-in hybrids, which recharge their batteries from the utility grid, could strain that system by increasing electrical demand. Ford is getting around the problem by equipping its plug-in, the Escape, to communicate with smart meters provided by utility companies. As demand varies through the day, so does the price of electricity. The Ford system can be programmed to charge the car when that cost falls below a user-determined threshold or to charge only at certain times of day. Future versions may allow users to request electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The first Escape fitted with the system has been delivered to American Electric Power in Columbus, OH, for testing.
Courtesy of Ford