Ford has announced they’ve teamed up once again with Microsoft, this time on a new project related to energy usage in our daily lives. The name Volt was already spoken for and Watt would just have folks asking too many questions, so the measurement of resistance is being utilized for the cute tagline on this venture designed to save consumers energy consumption at – wait for it – Hohm (pronounced home). My question is – will early adopters be tagged as “Hohmboys” and “Hohmgirls?” (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
In a nutshell, Hohm is an Internet-based service, 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 has announced plug-in hybrid electrics and hybrids in the near future and Hohm is designed to easily and economically integrate those vehicles into our lifestyles. No word yet if “Hwork” is on the horizon but as our transportation world becomes more electrified, the overall infrastructure will need to adapt as well. Maybe “green” stamps will come back as well.
Here is the full release from Ford and Microsoft:
FORD, MICROSOFT TEAM UP TO HELP ELECTRIC VEHICLE OWNERS RECHARGE MORE EFFECTIVELY, AFFORDABLY
NEW YORK, March 31, 2010 – 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.
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.”
If that is not enough for you, here is another release concerning Ford’s global electrified vehicle plans as well as announcing a new luxury hybrid vehicle coming soon:
NEW YORK, March 31, 2010 – The drive toward broad commercialization of electric vehicles intensified today as Ford Motor Company and Microsoft jointly introduced a new way for consumers to manage their energy use if they choose to plug in their next vehicle.
Microsoft’s Hohm software application, which allows customers to connect to their local utility provider to better understand and manage their home’s energy usage, is the latest component in Ford’s global electrification plans, and further demonstrates the company’s commitment to working with technology leaders to prepare consumers for a future with electric vehicles.
Ford’s global electrification strategy includes plans to produce five full electric or hybrid vehicles in the compact, midsize and light commercial segments for the North American market by 2012 and European markets by 2013.
Specifically, Ford will launch two zero-emission all-electric vehicles including the Transit Connect Electric light commercial vehicle in North America in late 2010 and in Europe in 2011, followed by the Focus Electric in North America in 2011 and Europe in 2012. Three other yet-to-be-named vehicles – including two next-generation hybrid electric vehicles and a plug-in hybrid vehicle – will follow in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.
Electrified vehicles are one part of Ford’s broader strategy to offer a wide range of environmentally friendly transportation solutions – rather than a single vehicle or technology. That strategy is designed to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions affordably for customers around the world.
“We recognize that one technology does not work for all our customers – hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles each offer distinctly different advantages,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “By leveraging our global platforms, we are able to offer a range of solutions as part of a strong product lineup that meets the needs of a variety of customers.”
Ford’s hybrid family grows
Ford’s electrification plans build on the solid foundation of the commercial and critical success of its Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid, as well as hybrid versions of the Mercury Milan and Mariner.
Joining Ford’s hybrid vehicle lineup this fall is the new 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, offering modern luxury car buyers all the indulgence of a premium midsize sedan and all the environmental benefits of a world-class hybrid.
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is projected to be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America, delivering 41 mpg in city driving – topping the 2010 Lexus HS 250h by 6 mpg. Like the Fusion Hybrid and Milan Hybrid – which also get up to 41 mpg – the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid uses Ford’s second-generation hybrid technology – the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 hybrid engine – named one of Ward’s 2010 “10 Best Engines.”
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid features SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide – Ford’s highly successful interactive driver information cluster – and takes it to the next level of engagement by giving drivers enhanced positive feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance.
Integral to the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s refined driving experience is its elegant exterior design, luxurious interior, ultra-smooth ride and quiet transition from electric to gas mode – unlike other hybrid vehicles that may jerk or vibrate while switching modes.
Ford’s first foray into hybrid vehicles was the Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid, which have held the title since their introduction as America’s most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly SUVs, now delivering EPA-estimated 34 mpg city and 31 highway.
Partners enable progress
Collaboration is the key to the Hohm program and Ford’s global electrification strategy. Ford is already working with technology suppliers such as Magna International, electrification upfitter Azure Dynamics, the Electric Power Research Institute, more than a dozen utility companies, and North American and European governments to advance the commercialization of electrified vehicles.
In 2007, Ford became the first automaker to partner with the utility industry in a shared effort to understand all of the issues related to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and their interconnectivity with the electric grid. Since then, a dozen utility partners from coast to coast have conducted more than 160,000 miles of road testing with a fleet of Ford Escape plug-in hybrid electric vehicles under a cooperative agreement with Ford and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Ford’s collaborative work to advance the commercialization of electric vehicles has expanded beyond North America, to similar partnerships in Europe.
In the United Kingdom, Ford is working with Scottish and Southern Energy and Strathclyde University on the UK Low Carbon Vehicle Fleet program to demonstrate a fleet of prototype electric vehicles and collect data on their performance.
In Germany, Ford is working with RheinEnergie AG, the city of Cologne and the University of Duisburg-Essen on the ColognE-mobile program, using a fleet of 25 electric vehicles to conduct road testing. The program is part of a much larger research effort in several cities in Germany involving multiple automakers, utility companies, universities and technology partners.
“To make electrification really work for our customers – and that means our customers and society attaining the maximum value of this alternative fuel in a sustainable, affordable way – collaborations between automakers, utilities, integrators and governments will be key,” said Nancy Gioia, Ford director, Global Electrification.
“The collaborative work we’re doing today is essential to supporting the launch of our plug-in vehicles starting later this year,” Gioia added. “Our customers deserve and will demand a convenient and seamless interface between the vehicle and the grid – one that is easy to use, fast to interface with and engaging or fun. We are committed to working with partners like Microsoft, the utilities, governments and other technology leaders as we architect and deliver a new energy future to our shared customer.”
Investing in tomorrow’s technology today
Ford’s commitment to electrification reaches beyond research and development to the manufacturing floor. Ford previously announced plans to invest approximately $1 billion to transform its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., to build the all-new Focus, Focus Electric, a next-generation hybrid and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Ford also is bringing battery system design and development in-house, moving production of the battery packs for its next-generation hybrid from Mexico to Michigan. The company will also produce hybrid transaxles at its Van Dyke Transmission facility in Sterling Heights, Mich., beginning in 2012.
“The overall investment underscores our commitment to developing core competencies, retraining our engineering and manufacturing work force and attracting new talent to the auto industry to deliver a range of electrified vehicles to customers,” Kuzak said. “As customers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we’ll be there with more of the products they really want.”