With an agreement announced today at the New York International Auto Show, Ford and Microsoft will, according to the Associated Press, “work together on a computerized link between houses, electric cars and utility companies to help manage energy use.”
The system would start with the all-electric Ford Focus compact car that is scheduled to go on sale late in 2011. Called “Microsoft Hohm,” it will allow utilities to vary electric rates based on the time of day. A computer would determine the best time to recharge the car at the lowest cost and the least burden on the utility’s generating system.
With this deal, the two companies are taking a major step toward addressing how to blend technology, vehicle advancements and energy. This is an issue that Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center has addressed as part of its “Beyond Oil” conferences in the last several years. At the 2009 conference, the all-electric Ford Focus — appearing for the first time in the Northwest — was among the key attractions for regional leaders.
“Ford is the first automaker announcing the use of Hohm…” according to the company’s press release about the announcement. “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.”