Ford Motor Company and Portland General Electric on August 24 announced a collaboration to help prepare the city of Portland, Ore., and the Pacific Northwest for the operation of electric vehicles. Ford and PGE will work together to share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical grid can support the necessary demand for electric vehicles, as well as partner on consumer education outreach around electric vehicles.

“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, manager of vehicle electrification and infrastructure, Ford Motor Company. “To support the roll out and acceptance of these vehicles it is important to work with local utilities to make sure the necessary infrastructure and grid capability are ready.”

Ford and PGE have also agreed to work together with state and local governments to support charging station permitting, electric vehicle incentives and future legislation or regulations. Vehicle incentives and an easy charging station permitting process are considered to be two key to elements to electric vehicle acceptance in Portland and across the country.

“The idea of widespread use of electric vehicles in an urban setting is becoming a reality and we want Oregon to be well-positioned to take advantage of this new technology and the environmental benefits these automobiles will bring,” said Jim Piro, president and CEO, PGE. “By working with Ford, PGE can better understand how these vehicles will interact with our electrical system and how we can best support our customers with the charging service they need to keep their electric cars rolling.”

PGE is partnering with state and local government, higher education, the automobile industry, and businesses to expand the electric vehicle infrastructure in Oregon. In early August, PGE opened the nation’s first quick-charge station at its World Trade Center headquarters, which complements the network of more-than 20 charging stations now up and running across PGE’s operating areas. Ford will draw upon PGE’s partnership with Portland State University to further study urban mobility and the integration of energy and sustainable design.

The partnership with PGE was the first one announced during Ford’s “Charging Into the Future Tour.” The 14-city tour, which kicked off at Portland State University in Oregon, 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 sectors to support this new technology.

Ford will introduce its first pure battery electric vehicle, the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, this year. In 2011, Ford will deliver the Focus Electric passenger car to market, and in 2012, will introduce new next generation lithium ion battery powered hybrids and a plug-in hybrid in North America. 

These vehicles will achieve breakthrough efficiency; some, like the pure battery electric vehicles Ford Transit Connect Electric and Ford Focus Electric, will use no gasoline at all.

Electrification is an important piece of Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy that includes a range of fuel efficient and alternative fuel technologies including EcoBoost engines, six speed transmissions, power assisted steering, aerodynamic improvements, light weighting materials and the use of more sustainable and recycled materials. Ford’s electrification strategy also leverages the most fuel-efficient powertrains, the most technically competent hybrids and its global vehicle platforms to develop affordable choices for consumers.