When we first had the idea for Mapawatt we merely focused on the home and basic appliances. You know, air conditioning, TVs, lighting, home energy monitoring, etc. But then all these auto-makers started talking about Electric Vehicles (EV) and we realized that homeowners are going to want to manage their vehicle's energy usage just like they would the rest of their home . And once EVs become mainstream (which we realize could be at least 10 years away) there will have to be tools to help manage things like how much energy the cars consume, how well the electric motor is performing, how well the battery is maintaining the charge, etc.
You see, once cars go electric, it opens up a whole new suite of diagnostic tools to help the car's owner get better performance out of that vehicle.
Once a car plugs into the home outlet, that car is then part of that home, and this becomes a perfect topic for us to cover at Mapawatt. Surely people in Topeka, KS will want to compare their car's energy consumption and performance to those in Baltimore, MD. Our goal is to help our readers conserve energy in their daily lives, and if you buy an EV, it becomes the single biggest user of energy in your home. And because of this fact, you will need tools to help you manage that energy usage. Microsoft lays this out nicely on the Hohm blog:
...if you add an electric vehicle to a household, it becomes the single largest consumer of electricity in the home. Now imagine everyone coming home at 6 p.m. and immediately charging their cars – it would be like a traffic jam on our electrical grid. Addressing the challenge of how we manage that demand in a smart and affordable way —from energy utilities down to consumers—is going to be critical. We believe technology will be essential to support the entire energy ecosystem.
We covered the Microsoft's Hohm briefly back in January of this year in our blog Home Energy Management and Apple, Google, and Microsoft. In that post I stated:
Instead of being an energy display tool, Hohm seems to be a recommendation tool. You create an account, enter in a bunch of data about your home, where you live, and how you use electricity, and Microsoft suggests things you can do to save more energy.
I created an account and went through the process, but got tired of answering what seemed like an endless set of questions. While it is certainly important to get all of the data required to model one’s home, I am just not too impressed by a tool that simply relies on user supplied data and doesn’t have a real-world component (like an energy meter) associated with it.
Well, it looks like Microsoft is planning on adding those real-world components and their partnership with Ford will probably be the first of many Microsoft partnerships with manufacturers. Now all we need is for Ford to come out with some plug-in EVs that we can actually buy to test this thing out!