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The U.S. Department of Transportation has selected the University of Central Florida (UCF) to develop a smart grid for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) as part of a four-year, $9 million research effort to help create the nation's electric vehicle transportation network.

Research will be conducted by the Electric Vehicle Transportation Center, operated by UCF's Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), to prepare U.S. highways for the influx of PEVs, and smart grid applications will be developed to help strengthen the ability of the country's electric system to accommodate the power demands of electric vehicles, FSEC says.

"Today, electric vehicles - using Florida utility power - operate at an equivalent gasoline price of 99 cents a gallon," says FSEC director James Fenton. "With fuel costs that low, it's no surprise projections indicate that Florida will have as many as 500,000 electric vehicles on its roads within 10 years, placing an unprecedented demand on today's utility grid."

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