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2010 New York auto show: Ford and Microsoft partner on next-generation electric car charging

Consumer Reports News: March 31, 2010 06:10 PM

At the 2010 New York auto show, Ford announced a partnership with Microsoft to provide the next generation of control technology for electric cars.

Other automakers, including Nissan and General Motors, have announced systems for their upcoming plug-in cars that will allow users to preset the interior temperature and other systems remotely from a cell phone before they unplug the car to drive somewhere. Ford will use Microsoft's Hohm software to enable similar features.
Hohm communicates with a consumer's local electric company, as well as home appliances and the car, to automatically set the most efficient and cheapest time to charge the car. According to Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally, charging an electric car may double the power usage of an average household. Eventually, as electric cars become more widespread, power companies may have unwanted surges in demand around 6 p.m. when many consumers get home from work and plug their cars in.

The Hohm software will smooth these demands by automatically setting some cars to charge later when local electric usage and rates are lower. Using a Web connection from a computer or cell phone, you can enter their daily driving schedules into the system so it can ensure the car will be fully charged when you need it.

The Hohm system is designed to control electric use in consumers' homes today, for example turning lights on and off, and setting appliances to start automatically at certain times.

The cleverly named Hohm represents the clever thinking needed to facilitate smart integration of electric vehicles into our national fleet.

Eric Evarts

See our complete 2010 New York Auto Show coverage.

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