Jump to content

Have You Shared A Ford (Patent)… Lately?


Recommended Posts

I started another thread hoping to discuss this but another got adversarial and hijacked the thread to an attempt to cast Tesla as a tax subsidy corporate welfare recipient and that backfired as Ford took six to ten times more subsidies. Subsidies are not bad in every case.


The question no one could/would answer is who would buy a Ford Patent, and why? I'm going to answer that here as the other thread is done.


The answer is a very bold move by Ford indeed. And one investors should be paying very close attention to regardless of their portfolio balance as Ford's conclusions are nothing short of crazy. Like a fox.




"The London Carsharing Experiment


Earlier this spring, Ford put out word on some early results of its London carsharing pilot project, and it seems that the results were promising enough to go forward with the beta version.


Called City Driving On-Demand, the initial program was designed to lure drivers from gasmobiles into electric vehicles, by offering one flat rate for both cars.


We had previously noted that rental fleets in the US tend to charge a premium for EVs, with disappointing results. The Ford approach, on the other hand, seems to work. In its first London carsharing experiment involving 100 participants, Ford found that many drivers took their first ride in a gasmobile, then switched to EVs. Of those who switched, virtually none chose a gasmobile again. (Editor’s Note: I wonder why http://planetsave.com/2013/12/09/7-reasons-electric-cars-kick-cars-boot/ )


Last week, Ford announced that it is stepping up the carsharing program into a beta phase, now called GoDrive, with 50 cars and 20 locations that have been selected to dovetail with other transportation systems. The company is soliciting 2,000 early adopters to sign on.


The program reflects feedback from the initial launch, which indicated that — no surprise — users placed a priority on parking, one-way trips, and a simple price plan.


As for why Ford is pushing services that will help people not buy cars, the company seems to be banking that the city dweller of the future will not be inclined toward car ownership anyways, except perhaps in the luxury market.


With that in mind, take a look at Ford’s analysis of the future carsharing market:


With the global car-sharing industry expected to exceed $6 billion USD (£3.8 billion) by 2020*, Ford is introducing GoDrive to target on-demand use and gain insight on emerging mobility trends and customers’ car-sharing habits."


I was floored! So what about that patent licensing offer?


It seems, despite a lackluster 64miles per charge Electric Focus, that "Ford is embarking on a full-throttle push for electric vehicles."


Here is where I think they have come up with a stroke of genius. Very risky, but genius nonetheless. Put simply, they are not even trying to develop long range vehicles. They are hedging their bets on a future where urban dwellers will want to share/rent vehicles for short trips in city traffic.


It is a workaround that acknowledges folks switch from the gas models in their London experiment.


"Actually, the company has been prepping for this moment for several years. In 2012, it helped launch AutoHarvest, an auto-technology sharing platform that includes more than 250 R&D organizations covering private sector, government, and nonprofit organizations.


AutoHarvest happens to have a partnering arrangement with the US Patent and Trademark Office (and, interestingly, the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense).


Here’s the AutoHarvest mission statement:

…AutoHarvest.org was launched as the world’s only truly neutral and global on-line meeting place for innovators of all types with an interest in advanced manufacturing intellectual property. This meeting place allows users of all types to showcase capabilities, technologies and needs system-wide and then privately connect with fellow inventors and commercializers to explore technology and business development opportunities of mutual interest.



AutoHarvest also curates for members an Innovation Hub that provides access to “smart-tools” developed by third parties. Currently, 22 organizations provide access to software, databases, content and services tailored for the advanced manufacturing community.


With all that in mind, let’s take a look at where Ford is looking for manufacturers to license its patents.


In its press release, Ford highlighted three areas. One deals with battery lifespan (patent number US5764027), another involves regenerative braking (US6275763), and the third involves an interface for driver feedback on accelerating and braking, with an aim toward improving fuel economy in gasmobiles as well as EVs (US8880290).


The emphasis is on electrified, urban driving, and that dovetails with GoDrive and Ford’s other smart mobility initiatives."


For the rest of the article with links to AutoHarvest and the other references go here to the article: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/01/shared-ford-patent-lately/?utm_source=Cleantechnica+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8b0a8cb8f2-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b9b83ee7eb-8b0a8cb8f2-331970081


Very sweet. Looks like Ford used that DOE loan to develop EV and other advanced technologies to heart, and did.


For investors the fork Ford is taking to focus on rental/sharing fleets instead of selling cars to end users is heresy for most. And their global intellectual property and R&D sharing plans benefits them, as much or more so than the others because of their manufactories. If brought to full fruition they may have found the answer to the conundrum of selling a 64 mile per charge vehicle for $30k. Share them and commit to inner city global sharing markets.


Questions that I'll be researching include the biz model. Will this be sold through dealers, or direct to the sharing programs/municipalities/entities? Similar to how Tesla sells direct to the customer. All while selling cars through their dealerships to the dwindling car owner market, as the EV market smoothly takes over in cities via the sharing concept..


Now that answer to the question of who and why license Ford's patents very well.


More as I find it. This could be even more disruptive than Tesla was.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have to keep in mind that the European automobile market is very different than the US market even though some of the same cars are available in both.


Europeans are not into 60 mile commutes to work (the average LA commute) nor do they take long trips by car (the trains work very well). So the only 64 mile per charge issue is not that big. Europeans have access to half-cars (two to a parking spot, the smart4two is the monster car in this class and the only one imported to the US). Half-cars have very mileage but can't be imported to the US for a variety of reasons, most often the inability to attain highway speeds.


Perhaps the limiting of sales to fleets is a way to control costs as most of the non-Tesla EVs are sold at a loss from manufacturing costs to attain government mandated quantities of sales.


Anyways, what happens is the European sales markets have little to do with the US.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed Mark, we lived in Europe for seven years and for the first two I drove my 78 Dodge Lil Red Express truck. I had to back out of a few side streets it couldn't squeeze through despite the minis parked on the sidewalk. We took our Goldwing for a lot of our urban touring. We also did some local businesses nights and weekends with my wife and employees taking it days when I was on duty. I took the nights and weekends. We did satellite cards and hardware for English TV from the US and England, as well as The Netherlands and Scandinavia who didn't dub over the English like most of the rest of Europe do. They subtitles their languages. Now you know why so many countries speak English so well. And use a lot of 70s slang from watching Mannix and The Beverly Hillbillies reruns. Seriously.


Also their fuel is historically four times more than our cost per gallon here.


I just got look at a Scion teeny car, smaller than the overpriced Fiat. I buy cash and a few years old, hate stealerships, so I'm rarely in new car showrooms. My best friend locally owns an upscale used car lot. He introduces me to new cars a year old. He buys on commission a lot too. I bought my last three vehicles from him and made money on each after a couple of years, even on the one he took back in trade. Right now he has a 2012 Mitsubishi 64 mile per charge tiny EV for $11,000.00 that drives great! And also a $9900.00 2012 smart for two loaded with the weird moon roof thingy for the same. Both are under 20k miles, and showroom. If I didn't need a dog transport, I'd have traded the HHR in yesterday for one of them for a toy for awhile until I see if the Elio becomes real. He's the friend that a year ago let me drive his 64 mile per charge Nissan Leaf. Just about the time I drove my first Model S.


Don't forget the Chinese and Indian markets with their emerging wealthy and middle class yet to buy. Ironic that our consumers are feeding our greatest adversary's economy, communist China, which may prove to be the biggest threat deterrent since MAD. Giving them back Hong Kong and the HKEx was the West's Trojan horse IMO, that brought them over to "tolerating" private businesses and profit making because money is flying over there compared to just 15 years ago.


We started the outsourcing of America in the early 60s coinciding with Honda's adoption of the teachings of Deming when our own manufacturers laughed quality metrics out of the board rooms. The result were the 70s junk autos and the firming up of the competition. Once Japan, whose products were junk before, got some quality going, they had cheap labor and for a time produced much of the world's goods from the now familiar names. Then their cheap labor became expensive as their standard of living got much higher.


So we all, now, including Japan, looked for cheap labor and Taiwan fit the bill getting all of the world market in tech products for a time, that continues today in part due to China's recent participation.


But Taiwan's standard of living went up and all looked for cheap, educated, labor again, and S. Korea was junk, but learned from Japan's experience as well as Taiwan's and they went from flimsy to solid. Goldstar, a cheap disposable morphed into LG, now thought high quality. The letters LG are the initials of Goldstar's full name, Lucky Goldstar. Samsung, Hyundai, Kia, are just a few of the firms in Korea that earned respect for their quality.


The Koreans living standard raised and all started looking for cheap labor again. We farmed out virtually all hard drive manufacturing to Thailand in a flood valley. Other Fabs (Fabrication plants or factories) went up in Vietnam, Malasia, and other countries but none as successful as the Thai HD. Their labor costs rose and if you look at a map, Korea and Taiwan (once part of China) are on China's borders. So when they realized that with China's population, they'd have cheap labor not for the decade or two Japan, Taiwan, and Korea had, but for a century perhaps. So we all settled on China, and find ourselves manufacturing by proxy through the Japanese, Korean, and Taiwan companies e are comfortable with, so we didn't have to say we were supporting a foreign communist regime which we have.


So those emerging markets, are where Ford and Tesla are testing the waters against the likes of TaTa motors in India, which few American consumers ever even heard of, but is a giant in Asia.


The ironic thing is that China, after its first tastes of pollution and mistakes may just end up leading the way in clean renewable energy. What most Americans also are unaware of, for one example, is that China makes solar panels that are sold for pennies on every dollar they cost us here. Not because China is raising the price but because we put a tariff on every one to protect our manufacturing. Folks here think the price has gone down as far as possible. But outside of the US folks can pay retail 80% less than we do. American factories get around that by buying parts assembling them here in US made frames and glass, or whatever is needed.


The point being that China is mobilizing their own cheap labor and beginning to clean up their act. Ironic that they may lead the world in manufacturing AND clean air and water.


But they will dominate manufacturing for the world for a very ling long time regardless of their form of government, why, because they have the cheap labor yet to move into the urban areas. China has only a narrow strip on their Eastern coast that is urbanized if you will. It is inching inward ever so slowly, educating their people as they go. It will take generations for them to do to China what we've done to the US. Being a communist country, they also have an ace in the hole. They border, and support N. Korea. At any time they could, in the future, expand their factories into N. Korea and we've seen how fast the S. Koreans have come so far. I'm seeing Ford being very cognizant of the next big market in this.


Just my thoughts, nothing concrete. It ha has been along time since graduate school in International Relations and my international economics and markets class. Guess I need to renew my subscription to Foreign Affairs magazine that I dropped in 1997 when we retired from the AF and went full time land yachting. Here is their about page: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/about-foreign-affairs


I used to eat up every issue cover to cover as I was in IR grad school on base while living in Europe, with traveling professors from Troy State University, Alabama. That was Jan 1990 - Jan 1997. Being at the tip of the spear for Desert Shield/Storm, the Yugoslavian/Croatian/Serbian/Bosnia/Herzegovina conflicts. I did a thesis on it. Old blood feuds there that go back to 920AD and earlier.


I digress. The world markets aren't limited to the EuroCentric worldview of many on this continent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the heads up Mark, I was getting tired there after a day doing annual spring clean up on my property, mostly too wet to mow, that has been delayed by the non stop rain the past three months

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

This topic is now closed to further replies.
RVers Online University


Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

Dish For My RV.

RV Cable Grip

RV Cable Grip

All the water you need...No matter where you go

Country Thunder Iowa

Nomad Internet

Rv Share

RV Air.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

RVTravel.com Logo

  • Create New...