Automotive battery, a historiography from patents

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Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2017)


automotive battery, historiography, patents, semantic analysis


This study aims to promote a historiographical approach, a survey of routes and technological developments of the automotive battery from a selection of patents produced since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, with the electric vehicle highlighted, we raise a question about the path and memory bequeathed by the automobile industry: what the historiography of the battery can tell us about the current circumstance of market and industry, since the electric car is not novelty? In this theoretical-empirical line of battery patent historiography, we interpret linkages between constructs in the domain of innovation, domination and diffusion throughout the last century and beginning of this century.
Organized in five categories of interlocking technological industries: the chemical, electrical, oil, telecommunications and automotive industries. Proposing a subjective and structuring historical analysis regarding the narrative form, that is, a methodological refuge in a total history, continuous narrative that thinks process chain of events, evolutionary and significant, permeated by interpretative analysis of its construction to the detriment of a chronology, (Bloch, 2001). The objective is to think in a longitudinal perspective, bringing the context of the automotive battery close to the current economic and technological framework.
Theoric model
How to historiographically promote the automobile battery? Going back to the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, we found a performance of the battery in the industry, in the market and finally in the day-to-day, giving characteristics of an everyday electrified, as in transportation, railroad and mining, more and more Incorporated in the urban environment.
In this logic we seek the beginning of the cut of this work. Moderate number of patents for batteries thought of in an electrical format, such as power and charging. Thus, from the Google Patents database, taking into account the thousands of patents cataloged under the constructs (of the titles) of each patent: battery, car, lithium, vehicle and electric, we selected approximately 1,800 patents of greater centrality Citation, that is, the patents most cited and intermediated by other patents in a chronological interval of 1900-2016. As a result of this criterion, we construct a semantic matrix of subjective generic relations, and relational networks thinking assignes-inventors-constructs, since changes in the technological areas lead to transformations in the order of performance of relational roles, as well as of work and of social nature. Then we can say that the logic that pervades the question of the generic subjective is one of the foundations for an organizational analysis (Weick, 1995). This mass of data is well-suited in this analysis, in which assignments and pairs of titular constructs correlate in a network of intersubjective relations, since two assignments may be linked by a pair of constructs, at the same time as two pairs of constructs Can be linked by an assigne, thus, from the matrix (semantics, because it focuses on relations, and these in turn mean something), we are enabled to interpret a deductive discourse through space-time, detecting patterns in large temporal scenarios As a result of the changes in industry and the market, leading to the possibility of a continuous history (Bloch 2001, Sauerbronn & Faria, 2009;
Preliminary conclusions
Patents contain a lot of bibliographic and quantitative information (Golembiewski, Stein, Sick, & Wiemhofer, 2015), these are potentiated with the historiographic look. Finally, to situate the automobile industry as a highly productive industry, whose central point is often placed in the productive process, and its relationship with the consumer market.
From 1900 to 1990, in the automotive application of the battery, we identified the predominance of constructions aimed at the electrification of vehicle accessories. However, it is not for the automotive industry that attention was focused. In addition to the automotive industry, and with a greater predominance of patents, constructs have been identified that refer to the mining, railroad, service and industrial applications industries. Another interesting finding is that intellectual property (IP) is the domain of inventors as assignees.
From 1990 to 2000, there was an inflection in the content of patents. Notably, the constructs associated with the automotive battery refer to electric and hybrid propulsion, to alternatives to lead-acid battery (sealed battery, nickel, lithium, etc.), charging devices, time for electricity storage, among others. In this period we identified the predominance of organizations of the industrial and academic sector as assignees. Different from the previous long period.
From 2000 to 2016, new inflection occurs, the IP is again the domain of inventors as assignees, and the electric and hybrid propulsion becomes a strong intermediary, as well as the lithium-ion battery.
As a next step we will increase refinement in the categorization and analysis of the period from 1900 to 1990 by dividing the data into decades.
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Concéption Tommaso Pardi
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