Florida’s first Ford Escape plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)  will be showcased at UCF’s Smart Solar Plug-in Research Facility on campus on Memory Mall, Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.

This unique vehicle, which can achieve up to 120 miles per gallon will be tested in Florida by Progress Energy through its partnership with Ford Motor Company.  The new technology allows the vehicle operator to program when to recharge the vehicle, for how long and at what utility rate.  For example, an operator could choose to charge only during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper, or when the grid is using renewable energy.

Ford and Progress Energy are testing one of the industry’s first vehicle-to-electric grid communications and control systems, which enables electric vehicles to interface with the grid for optimal recharging.

UCF’s Smart Solar Plug-in Research Facility includes parking spaces for four electric-powered vehicles. The roof canopy consists of 48 photovoltaic solar panels that convert the sun’s energy into electrical power. The system also can charge vehicles when it’s dark or cloudy outside.

Speakers at the event include, Dr. John Hitt, President, UCF,  The Honorable Richard Crotty, Mayor, Orange County  Dr. Marwan Simaan, Dean, UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science, Greg Frenette, Manager, Global Electrified Fleets, Ford Motor Company and  Rob Caldwell, Vice President of Efficiency & Innovative Technology, Progress Energy.

The event is a joint collaboration of UCF, Ford Motor Company, Progress Energy and Orange County and is open to the public.