Post by A Voice of Freedom
I have an idea for a new engine design that might get a 10-15 MPG increase in
gas mileage without any loss of horsepower.
The problem is, I understand that it can take AT LEAST $20k to patent
something, it's like you have to fight the government for it, and I have no
I LIKE Toyota more than any other car maker, and if I could sell my idea to
them and still get a guarantee of some serious money from it, without having
to patent it myself, I'd love for them to have the first shot at it.y
Do they even consider such deals?
When I worked for Toyota, I often got inquiries from people with ideas that
were going to make a quantum leap in engine efficiency or horsepower, and
when I listened to those ideas, there was a major flaw in the idea.
Toyota gasoline engines get anywhere from 15 to 40 MPG, so you are talking
about anywhere from 20 to 100% increase in fuel economy without any loss in
horsepower. That would be a quantum leap in power plant efficiency. The
"might get a 10-15 MPG increase..." part makes me think that you are pulling
figures out of the air as opposed to from the results of design studies or
mathematical modeling, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and share
what automakers are looking for in power plant design.
For an automaker to be interested in a power plant design, it has to be
commercially viable, and for a power plant design to be commercially viable,
it has to:
- be relatively easy to produce;
- cost roughly the same to produce as current drivetrains;
- use materials that are readily available;
- be as durable as existing internal combustion engines;
- be as cost effective and as easy to maintain and repair as current
- use fuel or an energy source that is the same cost or less expensive than
current energy sources or is renewable ("green");
- use fuel or an energy source that is readily available;
- have an operating range (distance) that consumers will accept;
- meet strict emissions requirements;
- operate and perform well under a wide range of environments, from well
below zero to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in rain, sleet, snow, and in arid
- offer reasonable acceleration and steady cruising for long periods of
- be reasonably easy for consumers to operate;
- be scalable in terms of horsepower, torque, performance, and fuel economy;
- offer an advantage over existing powertrains in one or more of the points
listed above without a big offsetting disadvantage in other points.
Research and development is expensive, so ideas that don't meet these
criteria are not likely to get far. Internal combustion engine technology
has come a long ways, and the folks who design power plants for automakers
are pretty knowledgeable about them and have taken a look at just about any
design that shows promise, including ideas that have been patented.
All of the engine designs that were presented to me were deficient in most
or all of the points listed above and were not worth passing up the chain.
That's not to say that there are no breakthrough designs out there, it's
just that none were presented to me.
Current hybrid technology has a cost premium of several thousand dollars
over conventional internal combustion engines and drivetrains, and they are
barely commercially viable because they are considered to be "green" or
offer a payback in terms of operating costs in less than the lifespan of the
vehicle if the owner keeps the vehicle long enough.
You can probably do a patent search on your idea, or see if it meets most or
all of the criteria listed above. If it is truly a good idea, you can
probably get investors to fund the patent process and R&D.
(correct punctuation to reply)