Ford, the second largest US automaker, has decided to offer access to its patents of electric vehicle technology to rivals in a bid to lift sustainability and as it ramps up research of the vehicles of the future.
Ford also constructed recently a new laboratory in Dearborn to expand the work surrounding electric vehicle technology and now plans to hire around 200 engineers to research electrification programs in the new center. Executive Chairman Bill Ford has called the automaker’s move a bid to lift the speed of industry-wide research and development of vehicles using electricity as their primary for of power. Since last year, Ford has at least 25,000 patents in the US alone, with 2014 alone seeing around 2,000 new ones filed for new applications – with around 400 of them related to electric technology. The carmaker plans to sell its already researched technology and then add 200 new engineers to its ranks this year to develop new electrification strategies in the newly built lab it has in Dearborn. “Innovation is our goal,” commented Kevin Layden, director, Ford Electrification Programs.
The patents and published patent applications will become available through the technology commercialization and licensing office, with interested bidders also able to tap them through AutoHarvest, a nonprofit group co-founded by industry expert David Cole that seeks the accelerated development and widespread adoption of new technologies from the automotive industry. The automaker currently has six hybrid or fully electric models across the Ford and Lincoln brands and intends to use the proceeds from the sale of patents to engineer newer technologies.