Toyota To Launch EV Social Network

We all know social networks like Facebook and Twitter – hey, you should follow us there – have changed the way people talk to each other, receive news, share information, and more. But does mean your car needs its own place online? One automaker believes it’s a good idea.

Toyota has partnered with, a cloud-computing technology firm, to create a private social network for customers with electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids to interact with the company and one another, calling the site Toyota Friend. The program is set to launch first in Japan for business clients sometime in 2012.

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One example the company gave for the new site’s use – if driver’s electric car has a low battery, it will send a short message to the user within the social network. The site can be accessed through mobile devices, which is nice, but unless the online program can auto-push a battery alert to a driver’s phone, adding yet another site to a person’s daily routine seems unnecessary.

Perhaps future updates are planned, like being able to remotely tell a car to charge itself, perhaps through induction. Still, is investing nearly $3 million the larger cloud-computing venture, Toyota is dropping over $5 million into the project, and Microsoft, which we recently reported had partnered with the car manufacturer for energy management, is spending just roughly $4 million on the overall program.

Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.

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