April 1, 2010

Ford, Microsoft Team Up For Electric Car Recharging

Ford Motor Company and Microsoft have announced a new system that will help electric car owners charge their vehicles while better managing home power use during the recharge phase.

The two corporations unveiled the "Microsoft Hohm" system during the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. It will be first implemented in the electric Ford Focus compact, which will go on sale late in 2011, and will be used in the five Ford electric vehicles due out by 2013.

Microsoft Hohm will help individuals better manage their home electricity use while charging their vehicle's power supply, according to the joint announcement by Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who appeared live via remote. It will utilize a computer to help Ford owners figure out when would be the best time to recharge the car to save money and create the lowest possible burden on their home's power grid.

According to Reuters, Ballmer called the Hohm service "a significant step in the development of the infrastructure that will make electric vehicles successful," and according to the Associated Press (AP), Mulally said that the system should eventually allow homeowners to store electricity in their vehicles and then use it to power home appliances during peak power use times.

The software will be available to Ford owners at no additional cost, and in addition to the Focus, Hohm will support the upcoming Transit Connect electric minivan, due out this year.

A similar effort had been launched by General Motors in 2008, who contacted more than two dozen utility companies in the U.S. to help work out possible power drain issues related to the upcoming late 2010 release of the rechargeable Chevrolet Volt.


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