Tesla grabbed the attention of the entire electric vehicle (EV) industry when it opened up all of its patents last year, and now it looks like this apparent altruism is inspiring others to follow suit. Ford, like Tesla, has now opened up its EV patents to its competitors, though unlike Tesla's they won't come free of charge.
Ford made the announcement on Thursday, describing it as a move intended to advance EV research across the entire sector. The company said striking a balance between open collaboration and challenging one another was key to improving the industry as a whole.
"Innovation is our goal," says Kevin Layden, director of Ford Electrification Programs. "The way to provide the best technology is through constant development and progress. By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers."
Ford says it has more than 650 EV patents and around 1,000 that are currently pending. It is offering access to all of these through either the company's own licensing office or AutoHarvest, a non-profit licensing marketplace designed to engender collaboration within the automotive industry.
Some of the examples offered up by Ford that might pique the interest of competitors are patents covering passive battery cell balancing, regenerative braking and a driver feedback interface. In its statement, Ford says only that its patents will be available for "a fee," though a company rep is quoted by Automotive News as saying the cost will vary, with "some in the hundreds and some in the thousands."