Amid the hybrid hype and horsepower hoopla at the New York Auto Show this week Ford Motor company presented a unique vision of the future of efficient driving in its partnership with Microsoft’s Hohm power management initiative. Launched in June of last year, Hohm is an energy management application developed in cooperation with U.S. energy suppliers and intended to manage and conserve home energy consumption.
Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally acknowledged what few car makers have addressed, which is the potential doubling of home energy consumption for home owners who choose electric vehicles. Ford is working with Microsoft to help mitigate that added cost of ownership. Hohm is an Internet-based application that will help owners of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles determine when and how to most efficiently and affordably recharge their batteries.
Microsoft says Hohm is available for free to all U.S. residential energy consumers and has multiple partnerships with utilities and other relevant partners. Ford is the first auto maker partner in the program. Ford also announced its plan to offer a smartphone-based application to remotely assess vehicle charge status and find charging locations, not unlike the application shown earlier this year by OnStar in connection with its Volt EV launch.
Ford’s electric vehicle and hybrid plans announced at the New York show include five vehicles in North America and Europe by 2013. For North America, Ford has planned the launch of the Transit Connect Electric later this year, the Focus Electric in 2011, a plug-in hybrid and two next-generation hybrids in 2012, joining four Ford and Mercury hybrids already on the road and a new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid coming this fall.
Other major EV and HEV announcements at the New York Auto Show included:
Kia said it will offer a 2.4L hybrid version of the Optima late in 2011.
Lincoln introduced its first hybrid – the 2011 MKZ Hybrid premium midsize car. The car is expected to deliver 41mpg in city driving when it arrives in the fall.
Think announced plans to begin selling the Think City EV in New York and other select cities later this year.
Hyundai showed its first hybrid, the new Sonata Hybrid based on lithium polymer technology offering what it claimed as more horsepower (169hp), more torque (156 lb. ft.) and better gas mileage (52mpg) than competing hybrids and using Hyundai’s Hybrid Blue Drive architecture with its 2.4L Theta II engine.
Volkswagen showed its first hybrid at the show – a Touareg with a nickel-metal hydride battery due later this year. The hybrid drive is paired with a 3L supercharged, direct injection V6 and VW claims a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions and 25/21mpg in highway/city driving.
Porsche showed its first production hybrid, the 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid due this fall, which will sell for $4,000 more than the $63,700 Cayenne S with a 400hp V8.
For further insights into global EV/HEV programs:
http://bit.ly/bv3Q0B - Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: OEM Strategies Reviewed – Kevin Mak