Microsoft is into all sorts of things these days. Operating systems are just the tip of the empire, as gaming consoles
, MP3 players, search engines, mapping systems, 3D sensing and even energy management are all also in the cards. Wait, energy management? It's no April Fools--Hohm is a legitimate branch of Microsoft
, and while few have really paid attention to it thus far, a partnership with one of the world's most recognizable automakers could definitely change that.
In order to advance the electric car industry (and probably give some real credence to Hohm, which has yet to land a killer application in the real world), the two have announced a "new solution that will make electric vehicle ownership easier and more affordable for consumers." Sure sounds good, but what's in it? It means that they're teaming up to implement the Microsoft Hohm energy management application for Ford’s electric vehicles, with next year's Focus being the first. What this will do is help owners determine when and how to most efficiently and affordably recharge battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV, and in turn, it could help utility companies manage the added demands of electric vehicles on the electrical grid. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, summed it up well:
"Electric vehicles will play an important role in the global effort to improve energy efficiency and address the issues of climate change and sustainability. But as the market for electric vehicles expands, it will have a significant impact on home energy consumption and demand across the nation’s energy grid. With Microsoft Hohm, Ford and Microsoft will deliver a solution that will make it easier for car owners to make smart decisions about the most affordable and efficient ways to recharge electric vehicles, while giving utilities better tools for managing the expected changes in energy demand."
If you're interested, here's a brief video explaining the partnership. It's great to see these two thinking so far ahead; today, it doesn't really matter when the handful of owners charge their electric cars, but when "everyone" owns one, it will.