Ford has been rocking the tech advances lately, with its excellent SYNC audio system, stellar 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and upcoming electric Transit Connect. Now the automaker has unveiled one of the industry's first vehicle-to-electric-grid communications and control systems, which promises to let electric cars interface with the power grid for optimized recharging.
The idea is to let the driver program when to charge the car, for how long, and at what utility rate--such as off-peak hours, which are cheaper, or when the grid uses renewable energy like wind or solar power.
Ford is currently installing the system on its fleet of 21 plug-in Escape Hybrids, and will deliver the first one to American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio. Here's how it works: the battery systems communicate with the grid via smart meters over Wi-Fi. The owner then programs the car via the touch screen nav system or the Ford Work Solutions in-dash computer (if so equipped). You can bet we'll be keeping an eye on how this all pans out.