Alongside the debut of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid at this year's New York Auto Show, Ford announced an extension of its partnership with Microsoft (see also: Sync) into the electric vehicle (EV) recharging realm. The new space that Microsoft and Ford want to take over is your garage; the method of attack is the free Hohm energy management application.
Hohm is a cloud-based system that can be used today to manage and control home energy usage. When it comes to future EVs and home charging, the system will be able to automate and optimize recharging and, most likely, communicate with a smartphone to relay information and update settings (need to turn off your dryer for some reason while you're at work, Hohm can let you do that). The MyFord Touch and Sync technologies could also be integrated into the system, allowing your car to tell you it wants to be recharged at night during off-peak hours.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer appeared via satellite during Ford's press conference to promote the new direction that these two companies are going in together. Ballmer said, "electric cars are going to transform so much of our society" and that information technology will be critical in getting EVs on the road. Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally said that this partnership "makes electric vehicles viable." Ford's group vice president of global product development, Derrick Kuzak, said that Hohm will make EVs "a reality for everyone, not just a lucky few" because it manages the cost for the end user and helps utilities manage and understand the EV load.
But Kuzak also said that Hohm will help people evaluate if their home is ready for an EV, implying that not everyone will be able to use Hohm (an obvious point, but it negates his pie-in-the-sky "EVs for everyone" statement). We'll be able to draw our own conclusions once the all-electric Focus becomes the first Ford EV to use Hohm, probably some time in 2011.
Related GalleryFord Hohm
FORD, MICROSOFT TEAM UP TO HELP ELECTRIC VEHICLE OWNERS RECHARGE MORE EFFECTIVELY, AFFORDABLY
- Ford and Microsoft are teaming up to use Microsoft Hohm as a platform to help future owners of Ford's electric vehicles optimize the way they recharge their vehicle and better manage their home's energy use
- Microsoft and Ford also will work with utilities and municipalities to help develop an energy ecosystem that manages energy usage as consumer demand for electric vehicles grows
- Ford's aggressive electrification plan includes five new vehicles 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 and two next-generation hybrids in 2012, joining four Ford and Mercury hybrids already on the road and a new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid coming this fall
- The Focus Electric is expected to be the first Ford electric vehicle to use Hohm
NEW YORK, March 31, 2010 – Today, Ford Motor Company and Microsoft Corp. are leading the way toward a more energy-efficient future by announcing a new solution that will make electric vehicle ownership easier and more affordable for consumers.
The two companies are teaming up to implement the Microsoft Hohm™ energy management application for Ford's electric vehicles. Ford is the first automaker announcing the use of Hohm, starting with the Focus Electric next year. Hohm will help owners determine when and how
to most efficiently and affordably recharge battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles. It also should help utility companies manage the added demands of electric vehicles on the electric grid.
"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's electric vehicles supports Ford'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 (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) 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.
Ford and Microsoft's participation in the Hohm program builds on the success of their decade-long partnership to provide customers with superior in-car experiences. The Ford SYNC® communications and infotainment system, built on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, has been installed on more than 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles since its launch in 2007, helping drivers connect and voice-control their mobile devices while driving.
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.
Ford and Microsoft also plan to continue to work with utility partners and municipalities to help further develop the energy ecosystem. Ford's work includes collaboration with a dozen North American energy companies to road-test a fleet of 21 Ford Escape plug-in hybrid vehicles. The research has accumulated more than 160,000 miles of real-world data, which provided important groundwork for the new Hohm application.
"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."
For additional information on Ford's electrification strategy and news, visit or join:
* New York Auto Show Media Web Site
* Facebook: http://facebook.com/Ford
* Twitter (corporate): http://twitter.com/Ford
* Twitter (green): http://twitter.com/FordDriveGreen
* Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/FordMotorCompany
* YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/FordStory
* Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/FordMotorCompany
For additional information on Microsoft Hohm, visit or join:
* Microsoft Hohm home page: http://microsoft-hohm.com
* Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/microsofthohm
* Blog (Hohm): http://blog.microsoft-hohm.com
* Blog (corporate): http://blogs.technet.com/microsoft_blog/
* Blog (environmental): http://blogs.msdn.com/see/
* Twitter (Hohm): http:/twitter.com/microsofthohm
* Twitter (corporate): http://twitter.com/Microsoft
* Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48819330@N08/
* YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/microsofthohm