Microsoft Electric Cars

Plugging in your electric car willy-nilly strains utility companies and costs you money. Ford's new vehicles will use Microsoft's Hohm, a cloud-based application for managing energy consumption, to make sure you're being smart about charging your electric car.

Ford and Microsoft have teamed up before on Ford Sync, bringing cars' entertainment and communications technologies into the internet era (or perhaps into existence altogether). Microsoft Hohm does the same thing for the energy management, allowing individuals to evaluate if their home can handle the burden of an electric car—adding one can double a household's energy consumption—and helping them manage its charging once they buy one.

Microsoft and Ford hope to extend Hohm's purview to include the entire "energy ecosystem," and the companies are reaching out to utility companies to figure out how to best prepare the grid for an increasing number of electric cars. Eventually, they hope that Hohm will be an all-encompassing solution for managing energy, allowing someone driving a Hohm-equipped car to turn off their thermostat at home

Microsoft Hohm is currently in beta, and you can try it out for free right now. The first Ford expected to get the service is Focus Electric, later this year.