Thursday, April 29, 2010

Automakers: Car Connectivity Is Enabler for Electric Cars, Not Prerequisite

Ford and Hohm

Microsoft Hohm is a platform to help future owners of Ford's electric vehicles optimize the way they recharge their vehicle.

The key phrase is �Ssmart grid⬝ at Green:Net 2010, a conference about IT, the Internet and climate change today in San Francisco. With the future of grid-connected vehicles looming right around the corner, automakers are in attendance to discuss the impact of adding vehicles to the increasingly complex web of energy and information.

Ed Pleet, Ford�"s product manager for connected services, is excited about electric cars and how they will connect to the grid for energy and information�but does not see vehicle communications systems as critical to consumer adoption of plug-in cars. Instead, car connectivity and the electrification of the automobile are two major trends starting to merge. �SIt�"s an enabler to help people overcome concerns like range anxiety,⬝ Pleet told �SIt will help them with the transition from pure gas vehicles to pure electric vehicles.⬝

Ford's Ed Pleet

Ed Pleet

In addition to alleviating worries about limited driving range and long re-charging times, on-board communications could help electric car drivers better understand their vehicle's energy consumption.

According to Pleet, cars of all kinds�running on gasoline, electricity, or a combination�will become increasingly connected. Drivers are already juggling the use of web-enabled smart phones, music, navigation systems, and climate controls. Products like Ford�"s Sync are designed to help drivers manage in-car information and entertainment with greater ease and safety. �SThere�"s always a need for connectivity in the vehicle, and some of those are unique for electric cars,⬝ Pleet said.

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