Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Automobile not invented in America, but ...

SecuringInnovation bashed Obama for suggesting the automobile was invented by Americans.

But, then, there is this text on Securing Innovation -->

Steinmetz secured 200 patents in his lifetime and advocated the creation of an affordable electric automobile that would sell for less than $1,000 and could compete with gasoline powered cars like the Model T Ford and the costly Detroit Electric, an electric car created by the Anderson Electric Car Co. in Detroit in 1909. An early consumer advocate and environmentalist, Steinmetz said the electric car would be more economical and less polluting than the expensive and dirty gasoline powered cars.
In a paper Steinmetz authored on the electric car in March 1920, he wrote: "In general, in comparing the electric with the gasolene (sic) car, the advantages of the electric car are: 1) Very low cost of maintenance and repair; 2) Reliability and simplicity of operation and with the current gasoline prices, usually; 3) Lower cost of operation.

For a hint of the problem with the Securing Innovation text, see IPBiz, including:

Electric vehicles enjoyed success into the 1920s with production peaking in 1912. [See The History of Electric Vehicles.] That's one year after Henry Ford won his suit against the folks who controlled the Selden patent, who coincidentally were the electric car people. Hmmmm. The electric car people, unlike Henry Ford, were not working to drive down production costs. They controlled the Selden patent. The price of the less efficiently produced electric vehicles continued to rise. In 1912, an electric roadster sold for $1,750, while a gasoline car sold for $650. The discovery of Texas crude oil (Spindletop) reduced the price of gasoline so that it was affordable to the average consumer.

[; even more detail in IPT.]

Also, Obama's mistake is far more understandable than Lemley saying Gary Boone invented the integrated circuit. Obama was making a political statement; Lemley supposedly an academic one.

Further to the Securing Innovation post, one commenter wrote another IPBiz commenter the following text about IPBiz's 2007 text, with the commenter stating:

Most of this is marginally accurate or irrelevant. The Selden Patent had nothing to do with electric cars. George Selden designed an internal combustion powered vehicle and applied for a patent in 1879. The patent was granted in 1895 and broadly covered automotive vehicles. The Selden people, some of whom WERE electric car folk, tried to extract a fee from anyone building an automobile of any kind through a group called the A.L.A.M. (Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers). A working Selden vehicle was not built until 1905, and the opposition, led by Ford, won the lawsuit against the Selden group. Electric cars failed because of their limited range (the same reason they are not yet practical for general use today). Steam was also a viable alternative, but when internal combustion engines gained self-starting ability in 1912, the IC engine gained the position that it holds to this day. Cheap gasoline, instant starting, and long range made the IC engined car the obvious choice for almost everyone.

IPBiz never stated the Selden patent was about electric vehicles. As Securing Innovation correctly notes, Ford and the others LOST the case at trial, but won on appeal. Also, as LBE pointed out in IPT, the Selden patent was not invalidated; its scope was limited. Ford had tried to join ALAM, but was rejected as too minor a player.

The earlier post on Securing Innovation had stated:

In a paper Steinmetz authored on the electric car in March 1920, he wrote: "In general, in comparing the electric with the gasolene (sic) car, the advantages of the electric car are: 1) Very low cost of maintenance and repair; 2) Reliability and simplicity of operation and with the current gasoline prices, usually; 3) Lower cost of operation.

"The disadvantages of the electric car are: 1) Depending on a charging station or charging outfit; 2) Limited mileage of operation with a single charge and usually also; 3) Lower speed."

IPBiz notes that Thomas Edison said he was going to solve the battery problem, but never did. Nobody has.

Note also an article in Newweek, Now We’re Cooking With … Batteries
Electric storage is the weak link in a high-tech world. Fixing it could improve our lives—and the planet.
which includes text:

Today's cutting-edge lithium-ion batteries first showed up on Sony's brick-size cell phones in 1991. Lithium, the lightest metal on the periodic table, packs a lot of energy into a lightweight battery, but it has its downsides. Price is one of them: lithium-ion batteries currently cost twice as much as nickel-metal-hydride, which is why GM says its plug-in Chevy Volt could cost nearly $40,000 when it hits the streets in late 2010. Still, lithium-ion remains the hot new battery chemistry—maybe too hot. By generating so much voltage in a small space, lithium-ion's chemical reaction can overheat and create what the engineers call "thermal runaway"—a phenomenon consumers call a "small explosion."

The safety issues first gained notice two years ago, when laptops from Dell and other brands began catching fire. Thomas Forqueran, a gold miner in Kingman, Ariz., watched his laptop combust inside his pickup truck, igniting the truck's gas tank and the shotgun shells in his glove box. "We saw flames 5, 6, 10 feet shooting out of the passenger window," says Forqueran. Those safety problems led to recalls, so researchers are proceeding gingerly before installing next-gen batteries in devices we keep in our garages and pockets. "A couple bad accidents could give [new batteries] a black eye very easily," says J. B. Straubel, technology chief at Tesla, the electric-car company.


When she [Mary Ann Wright] arrived at Johnson Controls, she and some co-workers replaced its nickel-metal-hydride batteries with lithium-ion. The old batteries weighed 192 pounds versus 130 pounds for the new ones, which yield more power. The result: her jury-rigged Escape gets off-the-charts mileage. Prius owners who've done plug in lithium-ion conversions say they get 80mpg, and some analysts believe GM's Volt could break 100mpg.

There's groundbreaking research happening inside other U.S. companies as well. In Watertown, Mass., A123Systems has received $148 million in venture funding to create advanced batteries. It already makes rechargeable batteries for Black & Decker tools and is in the running to power GM's Volt. EnerDel, an Indianapolis startup, is supplying batteries to Think electric cars in Europe. The government plays a role too: both Argonne and Oak Ridge national laboratories have teams working on advanced batteries. Researchers are coming up with new chemistries and employing nanotechnology to make lithium-ion safer and more reliable. A123's battery, for example, employs nanophosphate technology that helps prevent thermal runaway and improve battery life. The trade-off: many of these alternative chemistries also lower the battery's voltage.





Blogger Unknown said...

Automobile industry is one of the good industry. Now a days, In America they do not have selling in automobile. i always like to get Automobile News India. Thanks for sharing.

3:16 AM  

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