Research into environmentally sensitive ways of running a car, AKA “green patents” have been in the news lately and it’s been good news for GM’s image. The Detroit automakers in general are not seen as technology leaders, particularly in terms of alternative energy. Bob Lutz saw the Chevy Volt as a way of changing that perception, taking away some green luster from Toyota. Since there is usually considerable time between a patent’s filing and its granting, patents granted in the last 2 or 3 years are a good reflection of what a company has been doing for the past 4 or 5 years, and there’s evidence that Lutz’s strategy was not just a PR job but also a reflection of a very large amount of research and development at the automaker. Cleantech Group, of the Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti intellectual property law firm, publishes the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. The CEPGI tracks the granting of U.S. patents for solar, wind, hybrid/electric vehicles, fuel cells, hydroelectric, tidal/wave, geothermal, biomass/biofuels and other clean renewable energy. The law firm publishes the CEPGI quarterly and then tabulates the annual results.
Hunting prototypes for spyshots can be a frustrating and (if done in Finland) frosty affair. Carmakers are taking extreme measures to ward off paparazzi. Carmakers camouflage their prototypes (see video.) This doesn’t faze bloggers. Bloggers found a way to catch future cars in the comfort of their own home or office: From a ragtop Panamera in egmcartech to a similarly topless Mercedes AMG SLS in Topspeed, no future car is safe from bloggers anymore, even before the first prototype is built. Understandably, the Chinese are highly interested in the technique. You can learn it in a few minutes. What is the secret? (Read More…)