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.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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