DALLAS - Ford Motor Co. and Oncor, a major electricity provider in Texas, announced they are coordinating efforts to help prepare North Texas for the operation of electric vehicles.

Ford and Oncor 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.

Oncor operates a major electricity distribution and transmission system in Texas, delivering power to approximately 3 million homes and businesses. The company's majority owner is Energy Future Holdings Corp.

The collaboration between Ford and Oncor comes at a pivotal time, with Ford and other automakers preparing for the release of electric vehicles.

"Over the next two years, Ford plans on bringing five new electrified vehicles to market including the Transit Connect Electric later this year and the Focus battery electric in late 2011," said Nancy Gioia, global director of electrification for Ford Motor Co. "We know there is an incredible excitement for electric vehicles in the North Texas area and across the country. To support the rollout and acceptance of these vehicles, it is crucial to work with local utilities, like Oncor, to make sure the necessary infrastructure is ready."

Cooperation between Ford and Oncor also involves working with state and local governments to identify the most efficient ways to bring EVs to North Texas.

Oncor has already installed more than a million of its 3.4 million smart meters, providing information to help customers charge vehicles when rates are lowest. Oncor will also build about 850 miles of new transmission lines from Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) in West Texas to the rest of the state by 2013, enabling electric vehicles to be powered from clean, renewable domestic sources.

"Oncor's investment in new infrastructure from smart meters to CREZ lines makes Texas the best place in the world for plug-in electric cars," said Bob Shapard, CEO of Oncor. "Our preparation now will help curb drivers' emissions, improving air quality, and will reduce the need for power plants to charge these vehicles."

The collaboration between Ford and Oncor was announced during Ford's "Charging into the Future Electric Vehicle Tour." The 14-city tour, which kicked off at Portland State University in Portland, Ore., last month, promotes Ford's electric vehicle strategy. The tour also helps inform consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support this new technology.

The Dallas event also ties into the region's Electric Vehicles North Texas Initiative, led by the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The initiative seeks to coordinate collaboration among utility companies, regional governments, school districts, transit authorities and local businesses in an effort to develop a plan that prepares North Texas for the transition to plug-in electric vehicles.

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).