Ford’s Myenergi Lifestyle

Lynne Kiesling

You may know that the annual Consumer Electronics Show has been going on this week in Las Vegas (CES2013). CES is the venue for displaying the latest, greatest, wonderful electronic gadgets that will enrich your life, improve your productivity, reduce your stress, and make your breath minty fresh.

And, increasingly, ways to save energy and reduce energy waste. The most ambitious proposition to come out of CES2013 is Ford’s MyEnergi Lifestyle, as described in a Wired magazine article from the show:

Here at CES 2013, the automaker announced MyEnergi Lifestyle, a sweeping collaboration with appliance giant Whirlpool, smart-meter supplier Infineon, Internet-connected thermostat company Nest Labs and, for a green-energy slant, solar-tech provider SunPower. The goal is to help people understand how the “time-flexible” EV charging model can more cheaply power home appliances, and how combining an EV, connected appliances and the data they generate can help them better manage their energy consumption and avoid paying for power at high rates. …

Appliances are getting smarter, too. Some of the most power-hungry appliances, such as a water heater and the ice maker in your freezer, can now schedule their most energy-intensive activities at night. Nest’s Internet-connected thermostat can help homeowners save energy while their [sic] away. While some of the appliances and devices within MyEnergi Lifestyle launch early this year, others are available now, Tinskey said.

One reason why I think this initiative is promising is its involvement of Whirlpool and Nest, two very different companies that are both focused on ways to combine digital technology and elegant design to make energy efficiency in the home appealing, attractive, and easy to implement.

The value proposition is largely a cloud-based data one — gather data on the electricity use in the home in real time, program in some consumer-focused triggers, such as price thresholds, and manage the electricity use in the home with the objective of minimizing cost and emissions. Gee, I think I’ve heard that one here before

7 thoughts on “Ford’s Myenergi Lifestyle

  1. Very cool but wouldn’t Ford need either critical peak or real time pricing to make this work? It seems like what is missing is a national-scale state-by-state lobbying effort to put that back on the agenda at the PUC. Being a California rate payer, I’m no fan of Enron, but I do miss the role they played in being a voice (aka well resourced lobbyist) for competition and the introduction of market forces at so many commissions.

  2. My daughter bought me a Nest for Christmas, as she basically got it for half price through a discount at her work place. So far, so good. For the first week I turned it up when I woke up, and down when I went to bed. I set it to away when the house would be empty, and now it is good at determining if we’ve left the house. I like that I can check it from my phone. I notice today that it was on auto away when I headed home for lunch, so I turned it on and was warm when I arrived 10 minutes later. Can’t wait to see the first gas bill.

  3. David, that’s awesome. Please check back in with your gas bill when it arrives! We are brainstorming on ways to make a Nest make sense in our 1924 house with a separate SpacePak air conditioner and a McGuyver’d furnace/radiator system. No insights yet.

    Michael, that’s one of the points raised in the Wired article: they worked with Georgia Tech folks to benchmark household energy use in 16 states with TOU pricing, using Ford Focus electrics, and found substantial cost savings and “CO2 waste” savings. I am really impressed with their framing of the environmental impact as a reduction in “CO2 waste”, rather than just CO2 overall; it signals a recognition of the essential role electricity plays in our lives, but let’s focus on squeezing out waste while we do research on lower-carbon and no-carbon fuels.

  4. Of course, TOU is not the be-all and end-all of electricity pricing (heck it’s not even dynamic). But it’s where we are now, and it’s a damn sight better than where we were 12 years ago in the wake of California.

  5. Will do. One other thing is that the nest shows me the usage for the last week, with number of hours the heat was on. Someone is usually home, and on those days we get 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours of heating, depending on the temperature outside. Yesterday, we were both out for a while, and the furnace only ran 4 1/2 hours, and we did not intervene with the Nest.

  6. just trying to figure out how Ford will succeed where GE, Google, Microsoft, et al. didn’t……without providing the customer with something they value (and plenty of research shows customers aren’t interested in whole home connectivity), this seems an extremely small market opportunity for EV owners to include their EV in additional networking opportunities. Great for the EV owner, now how do you convince regular customers? (as someone who wants this area to succeed, we have to learn from failures- both customer and market- and i worry this industry keeps trying the same thing over and over without addressing what the customer wants.)

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