Ford & AT&T Get Married For Electric Cars
AT&T is starting to look like the network of choice for connecting electric car’s wireless IT systems. This week at the wireless event CTIA, Ford said it has chosen AT&T’s wireless network for connectivity for its upcoming Ford Focus Electric. (Hear from Ford exec Ed Pleet about connected cars at Green:Net 2011 on April 21 in San Francisco).
Nissan, too, has turned to AT&T for connecting its all-electric Nissan LEAF, as we reported last summer. Both Nissan and Ford are turning to wireless networks and mobile apps to help electric car drivers remotely monitor cars’ battery charge states, and to find the nearest EV charging stations, among other functionality. The idea is that better connectivity can beat back range anxiety, or the fear of the limited range of the EV battery.
AT&T seems to be aggressively going after the machine-to-machine market with its network, particularly autos and the smart grid. Connecting machines — and not customers’ cell phones — is a good way for AT&T to diversify its network and is also an area of growth in the U.S. in an otherwise saturated cell phone market.
Ford has been making a strong push to connect with mobile players. The auto maker launched its MyFord Mobile app at CES earlier this year and has now made yet another big announcement at a wireless event. See below for a video demo of Ford’s MyFord Mobile:
Ford’s first consumer all-electric car, the Ford Focus Electric, will go on sale by the end of 2011, and will be able to drive between 80 to 100 miles on average on a charge. In addition, the Focus Electric will be able to charge in 3 to 4 hours with a 240 volt charger, and uses lithium-ion batteries from LG Chem. Ford has a concept Honda Fit EV in the works, which won’t be available until at least 2012.