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Ford to share electric technologies with other automakers

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Ford to share electric technologies with other automakers

 

Ford have
announced they will be making their many electric car technology patents
available to anyone who wants them. In a move that echoes that of Tesla, BMW
and Toyota, Ford will allow other automakers or interested parties to access
their wide portfolio of technology patents, for a price.

Tesla, BMW
and Toyota made theirs available for free in order to push the technology
along. Ford is charging for theirs. While prices have not been made public, the
deal will include a necessary link with AutoHarvest, Ford's commercial and
licensing office to come up with a suitable figure.

Elon Musk
at Tesla did it during June 2014 by making their patent portfolio available to
others at no charge. BMW and Toyota did the same. Ford are now following suit
with over 2,000 patents covering everything from battery charging to
regenerative braking systems and hundreds of other things in-between.

Why share patents?

According
to Ford's director of Ford Electrification Programs, Kevin Layden, "Innovation
is our goal. The way to provide the best technology is through constant
development and progress. By sharing our research with other companies, we will
accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better
products to customers."

While this
does seem like a philanthropic thing to do, it makes perfect business sense.
While there are only a couple of automakers building electric cars, they remain
niche and therefore will have more trouble shifting numbers. Get other
automakers involved, widen the product range and you bring electric motoring more
into the public consciousness. The more used to seeing them we get, the more
normal we think they are. Thus, they shift from niche to mainstream. Mainstream
is where the profit is.

Mainstream
is also where the cash for a charging infrastructure will come from. The main
downside for electric vehicles, apart from the cost, is the lack of a national
charging infrastructure. Sure, charging stations are appearing, but slowly. The
more automakers selling electric cars, the more investment there will be in the
charging infrastructure to support them, which will in turn reduce the barrier
to entry.

It seems
Ford couldn't force themselves to go as far as Tesla, BMW and Toyota by making
access to their patents free though. While this probably won't put any serious
manufacturers off using them, it is still an additional consideration for some.
However, those bent on building electric vehicles or integrating technologies
into their product range will likely stump up the cash.

Categories: News, Ford

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