Originally Posted by Complexity upon Cimarron
Yeah, and that's a big if. At least they weren't bought by an oil company, like the battery technology used in the General Motors EV.
The if is more like ... a if the specific battery technology is actually profitably cost effective worth it ... not as much if they choose to ... at least for my 2 bits.
For Profit Companies want a profit ... the global battery market last I checked in 2011 was over $89 Billion dollars a year ... that is allot of money ... And given the increasing global usage of batteries ... for portable electronics like cells phones ... our vehicles , HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs ... and with Utility grids looking to add more themselves ... this already large market is very likely to continue to grow for many years to come.
If you are a company that has a product you think can get you a significant piece of this many $Billion a year and growing market ... either you do it ... or your competition does it for you ... and someone else makes those Billions ... your loss.
Even if there is some suborn and foolish person / company that just sits on some useful patent ... that is why they expire ... eventually the patent expires and any body can use it.
I think the GM EV oil company reference you were referring to the NiMH patents for the EV1 Batteries ... there is allot of false information about that floating around ... There were never actually blocked ... It followed supply an demand just like anything else ... in order to leverage the technology like any patent holder in the world be in Intel , Sony, GM, Exon, General Mills , etc ... you need an investor who has deep enough pockets to commit to a contract for ___ thousands or millions of units per year for ___ Years ... in order to make it financially viable to risk the up front capital to build a factory , establish contracts with material supply vendors, establish contracts with shipping companies to get raw materials to the factory and finished good from factory , and establish contracts with distribution outlets in order to try and sell the product ... those parts of the market that had enough demand to bring in such an investor , did it ... NiMH batteries were sold all over the place AAAA , AAA, AA , C , D , 7series AAAA packaged as a 9v , power tools, Forklifts , Telecommunications , etc.
Also ... the NiMH battery was invented back ( before 1970 ) ... before the Ovshinsky work and patents about a specific type of variation / improvement to the batteries electrochemical design ... long before GM itself purchased a controlling interest in 1994 ... Not only were those specific patents leased out to 50 different companies to market ... and they did ... but anyone was perfectly able to produce NiMH batteries without those specific Patent methods and not be in any violation at all ... there have been several battery companies that have worked to improve the NiMH battery chemistry seperately without using the Ovshinsky patent methods ... Bipolar NiMH batteries and Nilar NiMH batteries are variation on the NiMH chemistry that do not infringe or use the specific Ovshinsky patent methods , and are thus immune to any such issues.
I don't think there was a conspiracy ... I think there was just not enough consumer / market demand ... if there had been enough demand for what the technology of that time was capable of , it would have sold ... but there was just not enough demand.
Even today ... the HEV , PHEV , BEV market demand ... is still a tiny % piece of the total vehicle market demand ... and that is with modern technology with more than 3x more energy / range capacity , from smaller , lighter, and more efficient motors and control electronics ... even with the completely superior technology of today ... the market demand is still a tiny piece of the total global market ... it is growing ... but it is still a tiny %.
Lastly ... GM did actually sell a few of the EV1s ... not just lease them ... sold them outright ... about ~6 Years ago , as an adult student at Pennsylvania State University ... I had a class that saw , and did some minor work on one that they owned ... it was part of an engineering class I had there ... they were converting it to run on a type of fuel cell that a graduate student had built.