The fledgling Microsoft Hohm online energy management service, which we reviewed last year, got a much needed big time exposure boost today as Microsoft and American automaker Ford announced a partnership to use 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.” This was at the international auto show currently under way in New York.
Under this partnership starting with the Focus Electric next year, said Ford, “Hohm will help owners determine when and how to most efficiently and affordably recharge battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.” Few specifics have been spelled out yet on what the interface will be at the end of the day or what features it will have, but mock ups released by Ford and Microsoft (see below), as well as information provided by the software company suggest a slick interface that builds upon the Sync communications and infotainment system already found in a variety of Ford models. Of particular interest are indications of possible Xbox Live integration and charging alerts from your electric car. Cnet suggests as well that Ford executives envision future scenarios where Hohm and “the Sync voice system in Ford cars can tell a driver that a clothes dryer is running during peak times and give people the option to schedule the job at a different time.”
Microsoft and Ford also said they plan to ” work with utilities and municipalities to help develop an energy ecosystem that manages energy usage as consumer demand for electric vehicles grows.” This in part will be helped out by the integration of the Hohm system as it “should help utility companies manage the added demands of electric vehicles on the electric grid.”
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