DEARBORN, MI --- American Electric Power (AEP) is joining with Ford Motor Co. and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in a project designed to research and develop plug-in hybrid vehicles as part of a complete vehicle, home and grid energy system. 

AEP will receive a Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid vehicle for use as part of the partnership. AEP, based in Columbus, OH, is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. 

AEP and others involved in the partnership will assist Ford in the continued research, development and testing of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technologies. The effort will include using the demonstration fleet in typical customer settings to evaluate performance and potential.

AEP will receive the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid vehicle in the coming months and will test the vehicle at AEP's John E. Dolan Engineering Laboratories near Columbus, OH. AEP will also road test the vehicle in the company's 11-state service territory.

"For several decades, politicians and others have cited energy independence as an important goal for the United States," said Michael G. Morris, chairman, president and CEO of American Electric Power. "Moving a significant portion of the nation's transportation fleet to electric vehicles represents a definitive step toward energy independence. Partnerships such as this one between Ford, American Electric Power and other U.S. electric utilities are important in developing vehicles that fit both the consumers' needs as well as the capabilities of the electric grid."