Hybrid News

Will Ford hybrids be excluded from the U.S. for infringing Paice patents? ITC hearing begins Nov. 2


Will Ford hybrids be excluded from the U.S. for infringing Paice patents? ITC hearing begins Nov. 2
U.S. International Trade Commission could ban Ford from importing hybrid vehicles made in Mexico

Paice LLC, a pioneer in the development of hybrid vehicle technology, and Ford Motor Co. will appear before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) this week to address patent infringement claims against Ford. The ITC hearing before the Honorable David P. Shaw will begin on Thursday, Nov. 2.

If Paice prevails, all imports of Ford’s infringing hybrid cars (including the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ models) would be barred from entering the United States.

“Not weeks, not months, but years. That’s how long Paice engineers worked alongside Ford to teach them in exacting detail how our patented technology could make their hybrids more competitive,” said Paice CEO Robert Oswald. “Then, they tossed us aside and started introducing hybrid vehicles that used our technology. Ford started winning in the hybrid space when they embraced Dr. Severinsky’s inventions.”

Paice and the Abell Foundation filed a complaint in February 2017 asking the ITC to prohibit Ford from importing hybrid vehicles. Ford manufactures many of its hybrid vehicles in Mexico.

Paice’s hybrid vehicle technology is well known. It currently has license agreements with Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and other automakers who collectively account for 70% of all hybrid vehicles sold in the U.S. An independent study concluded that Paice’s hybrid vehicle patents are among the world’s most significant.

The Paice/Ford Relationship
Ford’s senior management, including Chairman Bill Ford, Jr., supported Ford’s initial foray into the hybrid market and encouraged Ford’s collaboration with Paice. That support initiated a multi-year relationship between Paice and Ford from 1999 to 2004 during which Paice interacted with more than a dozen Ford executives and engineers. Paice performed detailed modeling and component design work for Ford in the belief that the companies would come to a business agreement.

In the end, other than a stopgap license to a single patent, Ford refused to license the full scope of Paice’s patented technology.  This, despite the fact that Ford was fully aware that Toyota lost a jury verdict to Paice on what Ford characterized as being essentially the same technology.

After years of trying to negotiate a licensing agreement with Ford, Paice filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Ford in U.S. District Court in 2014. While many carmakers have licensed Paice’s hybrid patents, Ford chose to try to bury Paice in litigation. It filed 25 petitions before the U.S. Patent Office challenging the patents, and delayed the case in federal court. Despite Ford’s efforts, Paice has many claims that remain valid, meaning the dispute will progress to a resolution. The first meaningful evaluation will occur in the ITC.

About Paice (www.paicehybrid.com)
Dr. Alex Severinsky, a Russian immigrant, founded Paice in 1992 with the support of the University of Maryland. Paice made its mark in the hybrid industry by discovering new ways to maximize fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions without sacrificing driving performance. Paice presented its hybrid breakthroughs alongside Toyota and Ford at industry conferences and before the U.S. Senate. To date, Paice has been awarded 30 U.S. and foreign patents, including four of the world’s most influential hybrid patents according to an independent study.

About the Abell Foundation (www.abell.org)
The Abell Foundation, a Baltimore-based charitable organization dedicated to fighting urban poverty and promoting social objectives by investing in progressive local start-ups, is a co-owner of the Paice patents and a co-complainant in the ITC filing. Since 1999, Abell has helped support Paice’s efforts to develop and promote its hybrid technology.

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Save fuel without sacrificing fun: The best hybrid cars you can buy

You don’t have to give up comfort, practicality, or performance when you buy a hybrid car. For those who want it all, Digital Trends says the best hybrid car you can buy is the Toyota Prius.

Other hybrids receiving kudos included the Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Acura NSX, Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid, and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

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Monthly sales of BMW’s electrified vehicles top 10,000 for first time

BMW Group sales of electrified vehicles in September topped the 10,000 mark for the first time in a single month; a total of 10,786 (+50.5%) BMW i, BMW iPerformance and MINI Electric vehicles were delivered in September, bringing the year-to-date total to 68,687 (+64.2%). Sales of BMW Group electrified vehicles in the first three quarters of 2017 have exceeded those achieved in the whole of 2016; the company’s electrified line-up comprises nine models.

September also saw growth in overall BMW Group sales. Despite the current changeover of the significant BMW X3 model, deliveries in the month totalled 239,764 (+0.8%) worldwide, bringing the year-to-date total to 1,811,234 (+3.7%). Both figures represent best-ever sales for the respective period. Year-to-date, BMW Group’s electrified vehicles represent 3.8% of total sales.

This year, we’ve already sold more electrified vehicles than in the whole of last year and we are well on track to deliver our target of 100,000 by year-end. The continued significant sales growth of these vehicles is due in part to the increasing availability of the BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid, which in some markets accounts for up to a third of BMW 5 Series sedan sales.

—Dr Ian Robertson, BMW AG Management Board Member for Sales and Brand BMW

Global BMW brand sales in the first three quarters of 2017 increased by 3.9% with a total of 1,537,497 customer deliveries worldwide. BMW attributed this performance to increased sales across a variety of models in the portfolio. The BMW X family remains a strong growth driver, despite availability of the BMW X3 being significantly affected by the current model changeover. Total BMW X sales were up 12.5% (522,360) in the first nine months of the year. Other models contributing significantly to sales growth so far this year include the BMW 1 Series (143,018 / +10.8%) and the BMW 7 Series (47,880 / +14.7%). Meanwhile in September, the new BMW 5 Series achieved sales growth of 48.8% (23,737) in markets excluding China, where the 5 Series is currently in model changeover.

The first nine months of the year also saw MINI achieve new record sales: worldwide, a total of 271,394 were delivered to customers, an increase of 2.8%.

MINI continues to achieve sustainable sales growth with the new MINI Countryman proving a particularly strong growth driver. The popularity of the first ever MINI plug-in hybrid, which has already been delivered to more than 2,700 customers worldwide since it was introduced in June, is particularly exciting.

—Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW AG Management Board member for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad

Almost one in ten Countryman sold in September was a MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid (fuel consumption in the EU test cycle: 2.3-2.1 liters/100 km, electricity consumption 14 kWh/100 km, CO2 emissions: 52-49 g/km).

The Rolls-Royce brand delivered 2,343 (-10.7%) cars to customers in the first three quarters of the year. This result takes into account the current absence of Phantom from the market, pending first customer deliveries of New Phantom in January 2018, and challenging market conditions within the global luxury sector in a number of regions around the world. Significant rebalancing of the company’s manufacturing plant in preparation for new models has proceeded throughout this period.

BMW Motorrad once again achieved record sales in September, with 14,090 motorbikes and maxi-scooters delivered to customers. This was an increase of 15.3% compared to the previous year. In the first nine months of the year, 127,818 units were delivered to customers – an increase of 10.1% compared to the same period last year.

Asia continues to be a significant growth driver for BMW Group sales, with the Chinese market performing particularly strongly. Sales in Asia are up 13.2% (620,287) in the year-to-date. The ongoing downturn in the US automotive market is reflected in the BMW Group’s figures for the Americas, which in the year-to-date are 3.3% (325,807) below last year’s level.

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October 2017 Deals on Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

Green Car Reports highlights the best deals this month on hybrid and electric vehicles:

Ford C-Max: Lease options start at $149 per month with $2,549 due at signing. Buyers receive 0 percent APR offer for 60 months and $3,000 bonus cash.

Toyota Prius c: $3,000 in incentives available on 2017 models, as well as 0 percent APR for 72 months for well-qualified buyers.

Kia Optima Hybrid: $5,000 in incentives available.

Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid: Lease options start at $249 per month with $1,999 due at signing.

Chevrolet Volt: Lease options start at $294 per month for 39 months with $894 due at signing (select states only).

Ford Focus Electric: Lease options start at $169 per month for 36 months, with $1,769 due at signing.

Chevrolet Bolt EV: Lease options start at $299 per month for 36 months with $502 due at signing (available only in certain states).

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Coming in Summer 2018: Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid

2018-range-rover-sport-phev-668x409HybridCars.com reports that the Range Rover Sport will soon be available as a plug-in hybrid: the Range Rover Sport P400e. It will be available in Summer 2018 as a 2019 model year.

The SUV is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor with a combined system output of 398 horsepower. It offers an all-electric range of 31 miles and can go from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds.

Pricing has not yet been announced.

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Review: 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid

After Green Car Congress took the 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid for test drive, it was struck by how similar the mid-size hybrid is to the gasoline-powered Accord.

Compared to the 2017 Accord Hybrid, the new model boasts more power and maintains the same fuel-efficiency ratings (49 mpg city, 47 highway, 48 combined) of the outgoing model.

“The new Accord is lighter, lower, and cuts a smaller hole in the air than the last model,” the review says. “Although the third-generation Accord Hybrid is new for Honda, its similarities to the gasoline-powered Accord mean that it will likely blend into the rest of the lineup—its only secret is better fuel economy.”

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Mitsubishi Bringing Europe’s Best-Selling Plug-In Hybrid to the US in December

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Press LaunchGreen Car Congress reports that Mitsubishi is bringing the best-selling plug-in hybrid in Europe — the Outlander — to the US in December 2017.

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle ($34,595) features a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, two high-performance electric motors and Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control system. It is the only plug-in hybrid crossover with all-wheel drive in its class, and the only plug-in hybrid with DC Fast Charging capability.

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Study: Hybrids Now Depreciate Less Than Non-Hybrids

Some hybrid vehicles are now holding their value better than gas-powered versions — a change from historical trends — according to a recent study by Autolist.

The study looked at model-year 2013-17 vehicles with 100,000 miles or more. It found that 2017 hybrids lost on average 50.9% of their value compared with non-hybrids which lost 53.4% of their value. Toyota vehicles showed particular depreciation resistance compared to their gas-powered siblings.

You can view the full study here.

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XL Hybrids to provide F-250 hybrid vehicles

XL Hybrids has announced it will begin producing a hybrid electric drive system for 2018 Ford Super Duty F-250 pickups in 2018.

The company has adapted its XL3 powertrain technology for the F-250 trucks based on demand from fleet customers who are seeking even better fuel efficiency from Ford’s popular work trucks. This will be the first time that Ford F-250 can be ordered by fleet customers with hybrid-electric drive technology.

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BMW brings wireless charging to electric and plug-in hybrid cars

BMW drivers will soon by able to charge plug-in hybrid and electric cars — wirelessly — using a giant charging pad that sits on the garage floor. BMW says the charging pad, which will be introduced next year, can refill the battery of BMW’s 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid in 3.5 hours.

Drivers are guided into place with lines on the car’s dashboard display, which turn green once the car is parked precisely above the charge pad. Charging then starts automatically after the ignition is switched off.

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