Credit is due to former-Intel chairman, Andrew Grove, who, according to the Wall Street Journal, is pushing Intel Corp. to diversify itself and become a manufacturer of batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles. Grove’s idea isn’t just smart, it’s in the best interest of the country. Many in the auto industry are currently worried that by breaking our oil dependency and moving toward electric cars, the U.S. may be exchanging one imported dependency for another. The reason: Japanese and Chinese companies appear to be positioning themselves to dominate the emerging EV battery market.
The only downside to Grove’s idea is the difficulty of the task. Scores of companies have tried and failed over the past 80 years. MIT-based battery expert Donald Sadoway has described EV battery design as “the scientific equivalent of quicksand, deceptively simple, yet enormously complex.” Still, Grove’s idea is apparently to target the plug-in hybrid market, rather than the pure EV market, which makes the task decidedly easier.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationís recent backup camera mandate could open the door to more vehicle innovations, including better graphical displays, 360-degree camera views, and the increased use of Ethernet.
There's good news and bad news regarding the sub-systems of today's late-model vehicles. The good news is that new engines and transmissions are more trouble-free than in the past. The bad news is that the infotainment and DVD players are still prone to be "buggy."
For decades, the corporate path to the chief executive's office has often passed through engineering. Automotive, computer, electronics, and oil companies have frequently drawn their leaders from the engineering ranks.
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