Yes, this story was surprising to me, Chuck. I didn't realize how much of the hybrid and EV technology IP is not owned by the OEMs. I can understand the financial and technical benefits of shifting electrical power system development to suppliers, but it's odd to think of the OEMs not owning the technology in their cars.
I agree that the plug-in hybrid market will be slower in developing, naperlou. Vehicles such as the Volt have bigger batteries (although not nearly as big as those of pure EVs) and cost will be a bigger issue for those vehicles for awhile. We will see faster growth in mild hybrids and micro-hybrids that use start-stop technology, however.
Interesting story, Rob. This is going to be a big area for tier-one suppliers because the electrical architectures in hybrids are so much different than those of our more conventional gas-burning vehicles. Many of the hybrids have high power architectures of 360V or more.
Good point, Naperlou. I think Lear is in this for the long run. They are developing significant IP in this territory. With much of the hybrid and EV technology, suppliers like Lear may own more of the IP than their OEM customers.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
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