Ford Motor Company and Microsoft Corp. announced at the New York International Auto Show that they are teaming up to implement the Microsoft Hohm energy management application for Ford’s electric vehicles. Ford is the first automaker to announce the planned use of Hohm, starting with the Focus Electric next year.
Microsoft Hohm is an Internet-based application, built on top of Azure, Microsoft’s new cloud-computing operating system, that provides consumers with personalized energy saving recommendations. For the vehicle application, Hohm will help owners determine when and how to most efficiently and affordably recharge battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.
Hohm in general combines the Department of Energy (DOE) 2 Building model and analytics licensed from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories to process up to two hundred user input variables, along with historical hourly weather data, aggregated averages derived over decades, and individual historical usage and pricing information to ultimately model energy consumption for a home.
Where Hohm has an established partnership with a utility—there are currently four: Xcel Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Seattle City Light, and Puget Sound Energy—the utility partners will make datafeeds available for their residential customers who sign up for Hohm, so that they can automatically receive their energy consumption, pricing, and carbon information.
As with any recommendation engine, Hohm will provide increasingly more accurate and relevant suggestions for energy conservation as its users contribute home energy input and feedback. Hohm is also intended to help utility companies manage the added demands of electric vehicles on the electric grid.
Increasing numbers of electric vehicles will have a significant impact on energy demand; 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.
The announcement in New York was more about the partnership between Ford and Microsoft in this area than about the vehicle implementation specifics (which are still pretty sparse publicly), said Ed Pleet, Ford product and business development manager for the Connected Services group.
We’re not ready to announce a vehicle solution yet. It’s not a far reach to think about what we have announced at CES, and some of the mobile application capability, along with some of the smart charging capability, and how that could all integrate together.
It’s our desire that this [Ford-Microsoft] partnership minimize the transition for consumers from gas to electric vehicles. We intend to do everything we possibly can do to make it as easy for the consumer as possible.—Ed Pleet
As currently envisioned, a Ford EV buyer who uses Hohm in a community in which the utility provider is a Hohm partner will receive rich, pertinent data. For EV drivers in non-Hohm utility partner communities, the system will provide a more general guide to managing the consumer’s charging.
It will be our intent to give some level of a solution, regardless of where you live and regardless of the utility level of participation. There is certainly data that exists around pricing information.—Ed Pleet
Introducing Hohm to Ford’s electric vehicles supports Ford’s global electrification plan, which will put five new electrified vehicles on the road in North America and Europe by 2013. In North America, these 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.
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.
Microsoft Hohm is available today for free to all US residential energy consumers.