Utilities Plan for Electric Car Rollout

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General Motors plans to partner with utility companies to charge the automakers much-anticipated Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the company announced at the New York International Auto Show Wednesday.

GM will work with utilities in test markets nationwide, including Con Edison in New York, to set up charging stations to power the Chevy Volt. Unlike other gas-electric hybrids, the Volt runs primarily on electricity, but when the battery is depleted, gasoline is used to power its electric motor.

GM plans to make 100 Volts available in test markets, and with the help of 10 utilities nationwide, about 500 charging stations will be installed in homes and in parking lots.

While GM wouldn’t say when the Volt will be available to all car-buyers, it will be available in test markets in California, Michigan and Washington, D.C. later this year.

Separately at the auto show, Ford (Stock Quote: F), along with Microsoft (Stock Quote: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer announced a partnership to develop a way to use the tech giant’s HOHM utility monitoring tool to track and control Ford plug-in electric vehicles remotely.

The Microsoft HOHM system, which can currently be used to track electricity usage at home, is available free of charge for consumers, but the two companies are working on incorporating electric car charging elements to the system specifically.

According to Ballmer, HOHM users will eventually have smart phone applications allowing them to remotely check the progress of their car charging and set the time of day they’d like to charge.

Ford previously worked with Microsoft on the automaker’s Sync navigation and entertainment system.

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