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Ford, electric utility to promote plug-in hybrids

Automaker to partner on pilot program to test hybrid electric vehicles with California electric utility.

Ford Motor plans to announce a test program for hybrid plug-in vehicles on Monday.

The automaker is partnering with electric utility company Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally is expected to make the announcement with Edison CEO John Bryson at Edison's headquarters in Rosemead, Calif., at 2:30 p.m.

Ford would not provide further details on the program prior to the press conference, though some reports indicate that it will be a small pilot program of about 20 plug-in hybrid vehicles.

SCE on average provides electricity to 13 million people covering about 11 counties in southwest California. About 17 percent of the power it provides is made from alternative or renewable-energy sources, according to SCE.

This will not be the first time an automaker has partnered with an electric utility on a pilot program for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

In April, DaimlerChrysler, the New York Power Authority, the Electric Power Research Institute, The New York Times Co. and ConEdison, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, announced a partnership to test a Dodge Sprinter plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for transporting newspapers. The medium-duty truck is housed at the media company's printing plant in College Point, Queens.