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Group to Accelerate the Delivery of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles to Market

DEARBORN, Mich. - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner today announced the expansion of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership to include two electric utility companies - Southern California Edison and DTE Energy.   The addition of these utility members will help address the technical challenges and issues associated with market introduction and acceptance of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), furthering DOE's goal of making PHEVs cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016.

"The expansion and modernization of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership announced today demonstrates a shared public-private sector commitment to accelerate the research, development and deployment of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles from the laboratory to the marketplace," DOE Assistant Secretary Andy Karsner said. "The Bush Administration is committed to the advancement of clean vehicle technologies to address our addiction to oil and confront the serious challenge of global climate change."

The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, established in 2002 and expanded to include fuel companies in 2003, is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy; five major energy producers, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell; and the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), whose members include Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation.  The Partnership examines and advances pre-competitive, high-risk research and development to generate the components and fuel infrastructure necessary to enhance the commercialization of a full range of affordable cars and light trucks including fuel cells, hybrids and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The new partners will help examine the interface for charging and communication requirements, power flow, and the long-term impact of PHEVs on electricity distribution. The interface between PHEVs and the utility grid has been identified as critical for advancing research, development and deployment of these vehicles to the marketplace.  Vehicle charging, vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid issues are important for market acceptance and penetration of PHEVs.  In each of these areas, utility companies will be critical in helping to develop the proper technologies to further PHEV development and deployment.

Southern California Edison (SCE) has been leading the way encouraging the utility and auto industries to collaborate on plug-in vehicle technology. SCE conducts industry-leading evaluation and demonstration work at its electric vehicle (EV) Technical Center a unique facility in the utility industry - including conducting bench testing of PHEV lithium-ion battery modules for over three years.  SCE operates the nation's largest fleet of 300 EVs, having traveled more than 16 million miles since inception, saving more than 750,000 gallons of gasoline, avoiding more than 1,800 tons of tailpipe emissions and more than 8,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

DTE Energy is one of the nation's largest diversified energy companies. DTE Energy was significantly involved in the electric vehicle programs of the 1980s and 1990s.  DTE Energy has continued to support advanced vehicle technologies in its fleet, (e.g., hybrids, biodiesel, compressed natural gas) and is actively involved in several PHEV technology projects.

The long-term vision of the FreedomCAR Partnership is a clean and sustainable transportation energy future. The Partnership seeks to reduce dependence on imported oil and minimize regulated emissions, without sacrificing the freedom of mobility and vehicle choice. For information on the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, visit the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR).

The Vehicle Technologies Program has more information on DOE's ongoing work to advance vehicle technologies.

Additional Press Contacts:
Paul Klein, Southern California Edison, (626) 302-2255
John J. Austerberry, DTE Energy, (313) 235-8859
Susan Bairley, USCAR (248) 223-9023

Media contact(s):

Jennifer Scoggins, (202) 586-4940