Last week marked the start of a beautiful friendship between Ford and Microsoft. The two companies announced a deal at the New York International Auto Show in which they’ll partner to create a computerized link between houses, electric cars and utility companies. The new electric car system will allow drivers to better manage home energy use and save money.
The software system, Microsoft Hohm, will be installed in the all-electric Ford Focus, which will hit the market in late 2011. The system will allow cars to communicate with the local utility. A computer will determine the best time for cars to recharge (when demand and electricity rates are low). By charging vehicles when demand is low (in other words, when appliances and other electricity suckers aren’t in use), consumers can save money and lessen the burden on utilities’ power generators. Charging vehicles during non-peak electricity usage times will prevent the need to establish more generators and power plants.
As batteries’ capabilities increase, the system will even allow homeowners to use their EVs to power appliances. Charging electric vehicles can double home energy use, so smart systems like this one from Microsoft and Ford can help ensure Americans are being as energy efficient as possible.