Ford Motor Company and Microsoft Corporation announced at the 2010 New York Auto Show that they are cooperating on a new solution that will make electric vehicle ownership easier and more affordable for consumers.
The two companies are working together to implement the Microsoft Hohm™ energy management application for Ford electric vehicles. Hohm will help owners determine when and how to most efficiently and affordably recharge battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles. It also should help utility companies manage the added demands of electric vehicles
on the electric grid.
Ford is the first automaker announcing the use of Hohm, starting with the Focus Electric next year.
“Ford and Microsoft both share a strong commitment to contributing to a better world. Today,
we begin the next major step in our working together and leading the way for energy efficiency
and environmental sustainability,” said Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Company President and CEO.
“For Ford, this is a needed step in the development of the infrastructure that will make electric vehicles viable.”
Both companies agree that effective management of the energy ecosystem is critical for electric vehicles to be successful and for consumer interest to grow. In a recent Accenture survey,
42 percent of consumers said they are likely to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle in the next two years.
Increasing numbers of electric vehicles, however, will have a significant impact on energy demand. That is because the addition of an electric vehicle to a household could effectively double home energy consumption while the vehicle is charging.
Ford and Microsoft agree that making energy management easy and affordable for consumers will be key to the success of electric vehicles in the marketplace as well as in creating a positive environmental impact.
“Electric vehicles will play an important role in the global effort to improve energy efficiency
and address the issues of climate change and sustainability,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. “But as the market for electric vehicles expands, it will have a significant impact on home energy consumption and demand across the nation’s energy grid. With Microsoft Hohm, Ford and Microsoft will deliver a solution that will make it easier for car owners to make smart decisions about the most affordable and efficient ways to recharge electric vehicles, while giving utilities better tools for managing the expected changes in energy demand.”
Introducing Hohm to Ford electric vehicles supports the company’s aggressive global electrification plan, which will put five new electrified vehicles on the road in North America and Europe by 2013. In North America, they include the Transit Connect Electric later this year, Focus Electric in 2011, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and two next-generation hybrids in 2012.
America’s largest domestic hybrid seller, Ford Motor Company today has four hybrids on the road and another coming this year. They include the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. Also coming this fall is the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which is expected to be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America.
Life with electrified vehicles – with full battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles needing to be recharged daily – will require consumers to change how they think about personal transportation and energy use.
Hohm, an Internet-based service, is designed to help customers avoid unnecessary expense by providing insight into their energy usage patterns and suggesting recommendations to increase conservation. With Ford electric vehicles, Hohm also will help drivers to determine the best time to charge their vehicle. Smart recharging habits will help utility companies understand and better manage the increased demands placed upon the electric grid because of electrified vehicles.
Microsoft Hohm is available today for free to all U.S. residential energy consumers and has multiple partnerships with utilities and other stakeholders already in place. Ford is the first automaker to join in collaboration with Hohm.
“Rechargeable vehicles represent a new frontier. Their commercialization will take broad-based collaboration and systems solutions,” said Mulally. “Working together, Ford and Microsoft will provide the systems solutions to help facilitate this exciting future.”