CHICAGO - Ford Motor Co. on Oct. 29 convened key experts from the city of Chicago and electricity provider ComEd to examine critical issues related to consumer adoption of electric vehicles. Ford said it has been working to engage utilities, city and state governments and infrastructure providers in efforts to promote the commercialization of electrified vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions and increase energy security.

"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 Ford Focus Electric in 2011," said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford's electrification program and engineering. "There is incredible excitement for electric vehicles in the Chicago area. To support the rollout and acceptance of these vehicles in Chicago and across the country, it is critical to work with local utilities and cities to make sure the necessary electric infrastructure and grid is ready for both vehicles and consumers."

Ford plans to work with utilities as well as state and local officials to address issues related to the permitting and regulations that can support electric vehicle infrastructure.

ComEd is an energy delivery subsidiary of Exelon Corp. and one of the largest utilities in the United States. Headquartered in Chicago, ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or about 70 percent of the state's population.

An easy charging station permitting process is considered an important element for electric vehicle acceptance in the Chicago area, Illinois and across the country, Ford said. 

"Electric vehicles will be a key new technology in helping to reach the goals of the Chicago Climate Action Plan," said Suzanne Malec-McKenna, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Environment. "We are excited about bringing electric vehicles to Chicago so that residents and businesses can take full advantage of the benefits these vehicles offer."

The "Charging into the Future - Ford Electric Vehicle Tour," which kicked off at Portland State University in Portland, Ore., in September, is visiting 14 key cities to promote Ford's electric vehicle strategy as well as to educate consumers about electric vehicles. Chicago and Detroit were the only two Midwest cities included in the tour.

Over the next two years, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van (2010), Focus Electric passenger car (2011), two third-generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012).