"For our criteria, the electric car had to be capable of freeway speeds, making them useful on all U.S. roads. Of these five, some, such as Tesla, already have products for sale, while others are planning launches in the near future."
A new market study “Plug-in Vehicle Infrastructures” projects a fast-growing market for charging station infrastructure, with worldwide revenues reaching $11.75 billion for the installation of 3 million charging stations by 2015, up from just over 20,000 stations installed in 2010.”
And if you throw in just-in-time transportation services like ZipCar, you can really start to connect the dots around what the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem might look like. From a scale perspective, the benefit to companies providing services is clear: these are models that are interconnected from day one to the grid.
Whether it’s via smartphones, in-car systems, or real-time meters in homes and businesses, the data will be always-on and interactive. That’s quite a change from just a few years ago. And it’s quite an opportunity.
Last week VentureBeat ran a piece on how Ford’s technology continues to take on a greener focus. Citing its navigation systems as one example, Ford owners now have the option to choose more efficient routes, according to the VentureBeat story.
Now when Ford drivers fire up their navigation systems, they will have the ability to choose a route that prioritizes fuel economy over speed or distance. These “greener” routes avoid traffic-heavy highways and direct drivers to streets where they can maintain a consistent speed without a lot of starts and stops (that actually sounds pretty nice). Ford — which seems to be following in Garmin’s footsteps — says that drivers that choose the Eco-Route option can see up to a 15 percent improvement in mileage.
The other interesting thing is Ford’s complementary approach to the smart grid, encompassing Microsoft’s Hohm energy automation technology. That piece gives Ford a potential foothold in the “advanced transportation” space mentioned as electric vehicles and charging infrastructure grows over the next 3-5 years.
In the meantime, Ford seems to be making smart plays at the edges of the advanced transportation space. The new MyFord Touch features fit neatly into this category. And at the end of last month, it announced that it was teaming up with Microsoft’s Hohm energy management product to improve the way people will charge their plug-in vehicles in the future.
I don’t think there’s much doubt that Ford’s move to more sustainable practices is beginning to pay off. It was smart enough to see the decreasing demand for gas guzzlers (Ford Focus) and started to re-engineer its production capabilities to adapt. That’s not just sustainable, that’s just smart.
- Ford bringing Microsoft Hohm energy management to Focus Electric next year (engadget.com)
- Microsoft and Ford collaborate on Hohm (blogs.msdn.com)
- Microsoft Hohm Comes to Ford (on10.net)
Chevrolet has given us another good reason to cut our commutes. Freep published info from Chevy’s engineers that showed its long-awaited Volt could go 40 miles on an electrical charge. Now all you have to do is load the app on your iPhone that finds the nearest EV charging station.