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Ford to use Blockchain for Electric Mode of Hybrids in Low Emission Locations

Saad Ullah



Ford, the American automotive giant, is testing blockchain to automatically change driving mode of hybrid vehicles when entering low emissions locations.

Decentralized Fuel Efficiency

According to Ford, it will be using blockchain in conjunction with mobile modems in 10 plug in hybrid vehicles initially. The modems will be connected to the vehicles Engine Control Units (ECUs) and will note the location of the vehicles in real time. The vehicles will shift to electric mode when entering areas which are designated low emission locations by authorities.

The trial is being conducted in the German city of Cologne. Using a concept called geofencing, the devices keep a track of the vehicles and record in blockchain. The data will then be transmitted to city authorities. With the onboard device, it will also be possible for city authorities to be able to expand or change the low emissions zones in the future and update the vehicles, making the updates automatic.

Real Time Monitoring

Many cities around the world are marking areas in their jurisdiction that are classified as low emissions. In these locations, approved vehicles that have very low emission or none at all (in case of electric vehicles) can only enter. Normally, it is physically impossible to monitor all the vehicles in a city that are constantly moving in and out of the low emissions areas. The combination of blockchain and geofencing offers a practical solution. The modems, with the help of GPS record the locations and control the electric mode of the vehicles and transmit the data using blockchain. The decentralized ledger ensures that the data is secure and immutable. This helps in administrating city policies.

Gunnar Herrman, the Chairman of Management Board of Ford-Werke GmbH, the German arm of the Ford company, said,

“Security, trust and transparency of emissions data are of paramount importance to all stakeholders in this project, and are key for our vision of cleaner air in the city.”

The initiative by Ford and Cologne is a part of a wider effort that includes other cities such as London and Valencia, Spain.

Blockchain in Vehicles

Although blockchain being used in the automotive industry is not new news, this is perhaps the first time that it is being employed in such a manner. Hyundai has used blockchain for secure pairing with owner mobiles and General Motors is using for recording vehicle data anonymously.

However, so far only Volvo has used blockchain for environmental purposes. That too, for only tracking recycled cobalt for its electrical vehicle batteries. Ford goes a step further with this program and will use the decentralized ledger to proactively switch driving modes to stop emissions.

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