SEATTLE - Ford Motor Co. and the city of Seattle on Aug. 26 announced a partnership to help prepare the city for the operation of electric vehicles. 

Ford and Seattle city officials will work together to develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles. They will also share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical grid can support the necessary demand. 

"Ford has an aggressive plan to bring five new electrified vehicles to market over the next two years, including the Transit Connect Electric later this year and the Focus battery electric in 2011," said Mike Tinskey, Ford's manager of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. "There is an incredible excitement for electric vehicles in Seattle. To support the rollout and acceptance of these vehicles in Seattle and across the country, it is important to work with local utilities to make sure the necessary infrastructure and demand on the grid are ready." 

The partnership between Ford and Seattle, including municipally owned Seattle City Light, also involves working with the state and local governments around permitting, electric vehicle tax incentives and future legislation or regulations. Continued tax incentives as well as an easy charging station permitting process are both considered keys to electric vehicle acceptance in Seattle and across the country, Ford said. 

"I am pleased Seattle is working to support the environmental benefits of electric vehicles," Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said. "We are working with Ford to better understand the needs these vehicles will have so we can provide local owners with excellent service to support electric cars."

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Seattle and Seattle City Light have been leaders in promoting the use of electricity for personal transportation. Their efforts include:

  • Participation in one of the country's largest plug-in hybrid electric vehicle demonstration projects
  • A commitment to respond to home charging station permit applications within three business days
  • Winning $500,000 in ARRA funding through a Clean Cities Coalition grant, which will enable the city to install at least 50 charging stations on public property
  • Seattle City Light's success in fully offsetting its carbon emissions since 2005, making it the only large utility in the country to achieve carbon neutrality. This means electric cars charged in City Light's service territory run totally clean.

The collaboration between Ford and the city of Seattle was announced during Ford's "Charging Into the Future Tour." The 14-city tour, which kicked off in Portland, Ore., promotes Ford's electric vehicle strategy and educates consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support this new technology. 

Over the next two years, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, the Ford Focus Electric passenger car, two third-generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012).

Originally posted on Green Fleet Magazine

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