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Ford, Microsoft partner on energy management for electric vehicles
One Microsoft Way

Microsoft and Ford this morning announced plans to expand their partnership with a "joint solution" to help drivers and homeowners deal with the energy demands of electric cars, based on the Redmond company's Hohm online energy management service.

The companies aren't being specific about how the Hohm service would be integrated into Ford vehicles. The solution is still into the design phase, scheduled to roll out beginning with the Focus Electric next year. They say a primary goal is to help people figure out the best time to charge their electric cars.

For example, they say, the online service will take into account electricity rates and usage patterns at different parts of the day, and also help people determine in advance whether their homes are set up properly to charge an electric car.

Among the long-term possibilities mentioned during a webcast of the Ford event: A mobile phone application that would allow people to check on the charging status of their cars, and modify the charge times. General Motors' OnStar division showed a working prototype of such an app for the Chevy Volt in January.

Ford and Microsoft said the integration should also help electric utilities manage the additional demand expected to be created by the rise of electric vehicles, which the companies say could double home energy usage when they're charging.

The companies, which already work together on Ford's Sync in-car information and entertainment system, announced the plan this morning at the New York Auto Show. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer appeared via satellite at the event. Ford CEO Alan Mulally, the former Boeing Commercial Airplanes leader, called the auto company's partnership with Microsoft Hohm "a significant step in the development of the infrastructure that will make electric vehicles successful."

The Redmond company is competing with Google and a host of smaller companies in the market for online home energy management services. Microsoft introduced Hohm last June, partnering with Seattle City Light and other utilities across the country.

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 @ 18:26:35 UTC by NB


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