To accelerate the development of hybrid and electric cars, Michigan-based Ford Motor Company is offering their competitors access to patents for their electrified vehicle technology.
“As an industry, we need to collaborate while we continue to challenge each other,” Kevin Layden of Ford Electrification Programs said in a news release on Thursday. Just last year, California-based Tesla Motors shared their patents with other companies. “The world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform,” CEO Elon Musk wrote in a blog post last June.
Right now, Ford sells six hybrid or fully electric vehicles, ranging from the Ford Focus electric at just under $30,000 to the Lincoln MKZ hybrid that Matthew McConaughey drives in the "It’s not about hugging trees" commercial.
The company has more than 650 electrified vehicle patents. They filed over 400 of them in 2014 alone, and that makes up more than 20 percent of all the patents they applied for that year. Ford has another thousand patents pending. Some of the patents available for purchase by other automakers include technology for battery charge balancing to extend battery run time and overall life, temperature dependent regenerative braking to maximize the energy that’s recaptured, and a driving behavior feedback interface to help improve fuel economy.
“The way to provide the best technology is through constant development and progress,” Layden said. “By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers.”