Ford opens up its EV patents, puts 200 more engineers to work on electrification

Ford’s Workplace Charging Network

Tesla isn’t the only company that can play the patent-opening game. Ford has announced that it will make its portfolio of over 650 electrification-related patents available to competing automakers.

Unlike Tesla, which has implied that it will allow others to use technology “in good faith” free of charge (and Toyota, which plans to make some 5,680 patents on fuel cell technologies available royalty-free), Ford seems to be interested in collecting licensing fees, which will be arranged through the company’s licensing office.

“By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers,” said Kevin Layden, Ford’s Director of Electrification Programs. “As an industry, we need to collaborate while we continue to challenge each other.”

Meanwhile, Ford said it plans to hire 200 additional engineers to work on electrified vehicles at a new facility. As John Voelcker of Green Car Reports pointed out, Ford is one of the least transparent of automakers when it comes to its electrification plans, so it’s difficult to say what the company is up to.

However, with GM and Nissan expected to launch 200-mile EVs in a couple of years, and Tesla’s Model 3 plodding through the pipeline, it would be strange if Ford weren’t working on its own next-generation of plug-ins.


Source: Ford via Green Car Reports

  • hljmesa

    The future of EV’s just got a lot brighter ! !

  • brian_gilbert

    I wish more attention was given to using driverless electric taxis in driverless zones. This would cut pollution noise and expense .It could tried out on small communities like islands where the battery charge will cover the maximum distance.

    • Electric Bill

      That’s an excellent idea. .. rather than opening a test market in, say, Los Angeles or New York, start off in the Hawaiian Islands, maybe just one island at a time… starting out in geographically isolated areas (perhaps isolated towns in the Midwest would also work well) would stir up little resistance from predictable opposition such as the oil and gas industry. And, once the viability of the concept can be shown, it would blossom even in larger venues.

      Korea is already being very aggressive about inductive charging (IC) on roadways. They have IC locations where they make the best sense, such as bus stops, and intersections controlled by traffic signals.

      Such systems would benefit from a smart chargers where each IC point can identify the vehicles it provides a charge to, so a small fee can be assessed on vehicle accounts to make the system financially sustainable.

      With ubiquitous embedded charging, there would no longer be any range anxiety, and cars could easily get by on smaller, lighter, less expensive battery packs that would allow nimble performance, lower initial cost, and less load on the industry supplying the lithium and other materials needed to end our dependence on fossil fuels.

      • brian_gilbert

        Thanks. That is a good point that many towns are as isolated as islands for this purpose. A desrt town would also benefit from the use of driverless tamxis instead of personal vehicles in that vehicles deteriorate faster and therefore a personal vehicle costs more in maintenance

  • Lance Pickup

    I don’t know about the automotive industry, but in my industry, cross-licensing is extremely common. It’s pretty rare for a company to just hang onto their patents and not try to extract some licensing fees for it. I read into this that Ford is “opening up” its patent portfolio, but it is probably more interested in cross-licensing and seeing what kind of electrification IP it can get back in return.

  • Collin Burnell

    Love my Focus Electric. Super-quick!