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.
Audi is testing a new technology that eases many assembly activities at its Neckarsulm plant: the so-called "chairless chair." The device's carbon-fiber construction allows employees to sit without a chair. At the same time, it improves their posture and reduces the strain on their legs.
Just when you thought mobile technology couldn’t get any more personal, Procter & Gamble have come up with a way to put your mobile where your mouth is, in the form of a Bluetooth 4.0 connected toothbrush.
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