Energy and Branding: A winning combination

Wind Energy Corporation brings clean energy and a unique branding opportunity to select Ford dealers.

Ford Motor Company is partnering with Wind Energy Corporation to deliver an innovative new source of clean energy to its dealers. Wind Energy Corporation  will invest nearly $750,000 to install wind sail and solar panel systems at four Ford dealerships; each Windy System™ will help power dealership facilities, electric vehicle charging stations and lot lighting. The turbine and solar combination is expected to deliver 20,000 kilowatts of electricity annually, enough to power two average-sized homes for a year or charge Ford Focus Electric 870 times, Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi 2,600 times each. In addition, the systems are expected to offset nearly 14 tons of greenhouse-gas emissions per year.

What makes the product unique is their highly efficient wind sail technology that harvests wind energy, but doesn't have the large propeller-like appearance of most wind turbines. The company integrated a 7-kilowatt solar array to produce energy in wind or sun. Ford  dealers will use the electricity to power their buildings, electric vehicle charging stations and lot lighting. The wind sails will be emblazoned with the Ford blue oval logo and the name of the dealership – serving as a bold statement by Ford and its dealers’ to their commitment to sustainability.

“The Windy System was created in concert with world-class partners and we are thrilled to bring this innovative renewable energy solution to Ford and its dealers, including our beta site at Boggus Ford in Harlingen, Texas,” said Jim Fugitte, CEO.

History

Wind Energy Corporation  started in 2007 with a prototype wind turbine that was 18 inches tall. They contacted DAR Corporation, an aeronautical engineering firm that has been offering aeronautical engineering consulting since 1991. DAR helped scale the turbine to 20 feet. They also contacted Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, who helped them develop controls so that the turbine would react well in the gusty winds that tend to dominate the kinds of urban and suburban areas that Wind Energy saw as their opportunity. Once the product was ready, the company started looking for partners for a pilot program.

"We started working with the Ford Electrification Marketing group. What really set us apart was that we had the same mindset as Ford dealers who were excited about electric cars and saving energy," said Jack Phillips, COO of Wind Energy.

Participating dealers are electric vehicle-certified and have been selected jointly by Ford and Wind Energy Corporation for their commitment to clean energy and their wind and solar-efficient locations. Installations of the systems are set to begin in early 2015 and be completed by spring. Once installed, the dealerships will keep the systems permanently. Wind Energy also worked with the dealers to create education materials that can be used to explain the dramatic turbine to customers.

“We are pleased to be working with Wind Energy Corporation to offer a pioneering, clean energy option to Ford dealers,” said John Felice, vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service for Ford. “This is yet another innovative tool to help Ford and its dealers address a global sustainability challenge.”

Participating dealers are: Dana Ford Lincoln, Staten Island, New York; Tom Holzer Ford, Farmington Hills, Michigan; The Ford Store, Morgan Hill, California; Fiesta Ford, Indio, California

Mr. Phillips sees a bright future for Wind Energy Corporation. The company has an exclusive agreement with Ford, but that is only in automotive.  He mentioned hotel chains, sports facilities and manufacturers for starters. The compact design and the opportunities for branding could make his dream a reality.