Ford Motor Co. and CenterPoint Energy, Inc.'s electric transmission and distribution subsidiary recently announced a collaboration to help prepare the Houston area for the operation of electric vehicles (EVs). Ford and CenterPoint Energy will work together to develop consumer outreach and education programs on EVs as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical infrastructure can support the necessary demand.

"Ford has a an aggressive plan to bring five new EVs to market over the next two years, including the Transit Connect Electric later this year and the Focus battery electric in late 2011," says Chris Pick, global electrification business planning manager, Ford Motor Co. "There is an incredible excitement for EVs in the Houston area. To support the roll out and acceptance of these vehicles in Houston and across the country, it is crucial to work with local utilities to make sure the necessary electric infrastructure is ready."

"Together we will develop strategies to ensure the emissions and distribution impacts of charging EVs will be minimized by encouraging both more efficient use of household electricity and plugging in vehicles at times when renewable energy resources are more likely to be the power source," saysCharles Flynn, director of energy efficiency programs for CenterPoint Energy. "Long term, we hope to leverage and showcase CenterPoint Energy's smart meter and intelligent grid deployment coupled with Ford's smart charging solutions."‪

Ford and CenterPoint Energy also plan to work with state and local officials around permitting and regulations to support EV infrastructure. An easy charging station permitting process is considered one of the keys to EV acceptance in the Houston area, Texas, and across the country.