In an effort to help the auto industry as a whole develop electric-car technologies, Ford will open its bank of patents on EV technologies to other automakers. Although other companies would still have to pay a fee to learn from the patented technologies, Ford hopes this will accelerate research and development of hybrid and full-electric cars. Tesla Motors announced in June 2014 that it would also make its EV patents open-source so other companies could learn from them.
Ford filed more than 400 patents for EV technology in 2014, representation about a fifth of all the patents the automaker filed last year. Among the patents that Ford thinks other automakers will be interested in are ones for battery-balancing technology, temperature-sensitive regenerative braking software, and a feedback system that helps coach drivers on how to best conserve energy.
“As an industry, we need to collaborate while we continue to challenge each other,” Ford electrification programs director Kevin Layden said in a statement. “By sharing ideas, companies can solve bigger challenges and help improve the industry.”
Ford currently offers several hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, including the C-Max, Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ, as well as the Ford Focus Electric EV. AUTOMOBILE also broke the news in March that Ford will launch a new full-electric car to rival the forthcoming Chevrolet Bolt.