Ford opens portfolio of patented technologies to competitors to accelerate industry-wide electrified vehicle development
Ford Motor Company is offering competitors access to its electrified vehicle technology patents in a move to help accelerate industry-wide research and development of electrified vehicles. In 2014, Ford filed more than 400 patents dedicated to electrified vehicle technologies. This is more than 20% of the patents the company filed, totaling more than 2,000 applications.
Ford currently offers six hybrid or fully electrified vehicles including Ford Focus Electric; Ford Fusion Hybrid; Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid; Ford C-MAX Hybrid; Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid; and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. In total, Ford has more than 650 electrified vehicle patents and approximately 1,000 pending patent applications on electrified vehicle technologies.
Ford said it believes sharing its patented technologies will promote faster development of future inventions as all automakers look toward greater opportunities.
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. As an industry, we need to collaborate while we continue to challenge each other. By sharing ideas, companies can solve bigger challenges and help improve the industry.—Kevin Layden, director, Ford Electrification Programs
Ford is set to hire an additional 200 electrified vehicle engineers this year as the team moves into a newly dedicated facility—Ford Engineering Laboratories—home to Henry Ford’s first laboratories.
To access Ford’s patents and published patent applications, interested parties can contact the company’s technology commercialization and licensing office, or work through AutoHarvest—an automaker collaborative innovation and licensing marketplace.
AutoHarvest allows members to showcase capabilities and technologies, then privately connect with fellow inventors to explore technology and business development opportunities of mutual interest. The patents would be available for a fee.
Some of Ford’s electrified vehicle patents available for competitors to purchase include:
Method and Apparatus for Battery Charge Balancing, patent No. US5764027: The patent covers passive cell balancing: discharging a cell through a resistor to lower the state of charge to match other cells. This innovation extends battery run time and overall life. This is the first invention to enable battery balancing at any time, instead of only while charging, and it enables the use of lithium-ion batteries in electrified vehicles. It was invented long before lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles became commonplace.
Temperature Dependent Regenerative Brake System for Electric Vehicle, patent No. US6275763: The technology works to maximize the amount of energy recaptured in a hybrid vehicle through regenerative braking. By improving the interplay between normal friction brakes and regenerative braking during stopping at certain air temperatures, a driver is able to recapture more energy than previously possible, helping the motorist drive farther on a charge.
Driving Behavior Feedback Interface, patent No. US8880290: The patent provides a system and method for monitoring driver inputs such as braking and accelerating, and vehicle parameters including energy consumption to assess driving behavior. The feedback can be used to coach future driving behavior that may translate into better long-term driving habits and improve fuel economy. This technology also has enabled drivers of non-electrified vehicles, such as a Ford Focus, to develop better driving habits.