Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is asking the microprocessor company to consider a new venture in battery manufacturing. Grove has been suggesting to current CEO Paul Otellini to set-up a battery business that focuses on plug-in electric vehicles. This would fill a gap in a strategic niche especially as the Big 3 automakers are receiving pressure from Congress to create more hybrid cars in order to compete with their foreign counterparts.
The current major players in hybrid vehicle battery manufacturing includes BYD Motors, Panasonic, and Sanyo. Although this type of business is not part of Intel’s core competencies, the company has invested in several battery companies through investment arm Intel Capital.
“We already have some investments in battery companies via Intel Capital, and have had for some time, for example Cymbet ? solid state battery for wireless sensor networks ?and Polyfuel ? improved fuel cell membrane,” stated Intel spokeswoman Christine Dotts. “We look at a lot of things, and we certainly consider battery technology important. Whether we will do anything more in this area we can’t say at this time. It should be noted that battery technology developments for computer uses and for automotive applications are not necessarily mutually exclusive.”
The Big 3 automotive companies have already started working with battery companies for their future hybrid vehicles. For example, General Motors recently started working with A123 Systems for cars that will be manufactured in 2010. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors have all made promises to Congress to push the development of more hybrid vehicles as part of their bailout pitch.
Intel Grove retired from Intel in 2005, but stayed on the board as an advisor.