Ford has announced its plug-in hybrid plan: 20-test-vehicles-by-2009. While plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) seem like the best way to go for the moment, autobloggreen.com reports that some see it as too little, too late. In the face of Tesla and Lighting moving into the space, Ford CEO Alan Mulally said on Monday he expects the company to sell plug-in hybrids in five to 10 years with rollout dependent on advancements to lithium ion batteries. Mulally was at a press event to announce an alliance between Ford and utility Southern California Edison to test 20 rechargeable electric vehicles. So Cal Ed will make it a "real world" test by giving the Escapes to 20 consumers who have electric "smart meters" to monitor power used to charge the SUVs.
Ford became the first U.S. car maker to introduce a gasoline-electric hybrid, the Escape, in 2004. In the face of declining U.S. market share, Ford later backed off ambitious sales targets for hybrids. With a $12.6 billion loss last year, Ford would be wise to heed the wisdom of crowds. The deal is the first time a major automaker and a large electricity utility are working together on PHEV testing. via:: Reuters, ::AutoBlogGreen