Ford Teams with Microsoft to Monitor Energy Usage: In & Out of the Car

Ford Motor Co., with the help of Microsoft, has decided to take a leading role as the voice of your social conscience. You may have never thought that a car would tell you when it's more eco-friendly to run your dryer, but now you'll be able to stop the dryer and restart it at another more energy-efficient time.  This will all be made possible by a partnership between Ford and Microsoft, and a concept called Hohm. As a platform for future owners of Ford's electric vehicles, the in-car program seeks to optimize both the recharging of the vehicle along with the use of energy at home.

Hohm is an Internet-based service (currently free to all US residential energy consumers) which provides usage patterns and recommendations to home owners' energy output. Teamed up with Ford electric vehicles, Hohm gives input around your personal schedule. Your schedule, by the way, is posted on a screen in your car—synced from work or home. And just in case you're not in your car, Hohm will also be adding a smart phone app to help you charge your car, home or phone remotely.

Don't worry about the infrastructure for all of this. Microsoft and Ford plan on working with utilities and municipalities to develop an energy ecosystem.  Ford's electrification plan calls for five new electric vehicles in North America and Europe by 2013, the Transit Connect Electric later this year, Ford Focus Electric in 2011, a plug in-hybrid and two next-gen hybrids in 2012 and the new Lincoln MKZ coming this Fall.

The Focus Electric will be the first Ford electric vehicle to use Hohm. Following the successful Sync infotainment system, Ford and Microsoft join forces again on Hohm to monitor energy usage in electric cars.