Ford and Southern California Edison later on Monday are expected to announce joint testing of rechargeable hybrid vehicles.

The utilitywill get a Ford plug-in hybrid vehicle by the end of this year and up to 20 by some time in 2009 to test their durability, range and impact on the power grid, said Susan Cischke, Ford senior vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, told The Associated Press (AP).

Cischke has said the unique partnership between a power provider and an automaker should help bring plug-in hybrids to market more quickly.

Southern California Edison will help Ford by placing the cars with consumers and collecting data, Cischke said in an interview with the Associated Press.

“They have the wire-side knowledge about the grid and all the issues there,” she said. “By partnering with these two industries … we’re hoping that it does accelerate the commercialisation and certainly drive some of the cost issues down.”