By Mark Kleis
Wednesday, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 11:02 am
 
Alan Mulally, Ford's CEO, announced just minutes ago that Ford and Microsoft will be partnering and using Microsoft Hohm in order to develop solutions to the upcoming major increases in electricity consumption due to the electrification of vehicles. Microsoft and Ford will be teaming up with utility companies and municipalities in order to develop an energy ecosystem that can best manage consumer demand.



Ford's electrification plans include the addition of the Transit Connect Electric in 2010, a plug-in hybrid and two next-generation hybrids in 2012 and the newly announced Lincoln MKZ Hybrid in the fall of 2010.

The Ford Focus Electric will become the first vehicle to make use of Microsoft Hohm, free software that allows customers to connect to their local utility provider to better understand and manage their home's energy usage. Microsoft Hohm will enable electric vehicle owners to properly manage their charge times and rates, effectively saving them money.

"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.

Mulally pointed out that adding just one electric vehicle to the average household can double energy usage, creating a need to better manage electricity use. Ford says that collaboration is the key to global electrification.

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.