We heard a few months ago that some fleets of plug-in Priuses were set to go into testing in early 2009, and it looks like some of those plans are now starting to get a bit clearer, with two southeastern electric utility companies recently announcing that they plan to use the PHEVs to evaluate a new smart charging system. Apparently, Duke Energy Carolinas and Progress Energy are particularly interested in testing how billing and energy usage will be tracked when a vehicle subscribed to one company charges on another network, and also how they'll be able to ensure that folks who feed energy back onto the grid get properly credited. To that end, all the Priuses in the test will be equipped with a V2Green connectivity module, which allows for two-way communication between the vehicles and the grid and promises to let utility companies minimize grid stress. No word on an exact start date for the fleet roll-out just yet, so anyone in the area had best keep an eye out -- you never know when they might just silently sneak up on you when you least expect it.

[Via AutoblogGreen]

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Electric utilities set to test smart charging system with plug-in Priuses