This isn't an academic exercise. The partnership - one of many eco partnerships underway at Ford - uses internal vehicle technology such as is available in some Ford F-150 trucks -- to record and analyze customer use and interconnectivity of vehicles with the electric grid.
"I think if you build the vehicles you have to be sure you can build the infrastructure," said Ford's Jennifer Moore of the project. "You don't want to have to worry about driving from Florida to Michigan, to worry that one charging station [can't accommodate] your vehicle. That's a critical component to building customer acceptance."
Without some major partnerships among automakers with various utilities throughout the U.S. - and likely billions in investments -the electric vehicles by Ford and other automakers may well be non-starters.
Those at American Honda - which has pioneered hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles most notably with its FCX Clarity - well know the frustration of having market-ready alternative fuel vehicles on hold while a solid support infrastructure is created.
"The car is fully developed and what we consider market ready," said Honda's Sage Marie of the FCX, noting the current infrastructure is centered on California.
Although the FCX is Honda's eco calling card, the automaker is also developing plug-in electric vehicles -- similar to Ford's - that they feel might hit similar stumbling blocks.
Automakers are right to be concerned, said Brandon Mason, lead powertrain analyst, Automotive Institute, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Detroit.
"In order to develop a reliable and capable smartgrid, a large investment from both public (government grants, low interest loans, etc.) and private (utilities, automakers, private equity, etc.) interests will be needed," he said. "Without this focused and combined effort, construction of a network of charging stations will be slowed."
No one can give timeframes or costs beyond "years" and "billions."
"The most remarkable thing about it is that it's not remarkable," said Gioia, talking about the soon-to-be-introduced Focus. "It handles, steers and runs just like a regular Ford Focus. It has everything that makes the vehicle enjoyable to drive."
Except, at this point, abundant power sources.