Two Utilities Join DOE to Advance PHEVs

Two Utilities Join DOE to Advance PHEVs

Southern California Edison and DTE Energy are the latest companies to join the U.S. Department of Energy in an attempt to make plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) cost competitive by 2014 and ready for mass production two years later.

The two utilities will join BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, and the U.S. Council for Automotive Research in the expansion of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership to examine the interface between PHEV and the utility grid, an area crucial for the widespread deployment of PHEVs.

SCE and DTE will study the interface for charging and communication requirements, power flow and long-term impact of PHEVs on electricity distribution.

The DOE also has enlisted the help of automakers, such as GM and Ford, to accelerate the widespread adoption of PHEVs. The agency announced last week it would spend $30 million in various projects with GE and the car companies to drive innovation in battery and production development.

Also on Tuesday, the DOE said it would invest about $1.3 billion to commercialize carbon capture and storage technology through its restructured FutureGen program, which stalled in January.