Inspired to Innovate
When Alex Severinsky came to the United States, he found himself in a familiar situation: waiting in line. When he lived in the Soviet Union, Alex often spent hours waiting in line for food. Shortly after arriving in the United States, he was waiting in line again. For gasoline. It was 1979 and the country was in the midst of a second oil embargo.
An inventor at heart, Alex figured there must be a way to make cars more fuel efficient. With a PhD in electrical engineering, he started searching for an answer that would reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil – and allow him to finally stop waiting in line.
The idea stuck with Alex and he explored possible solutions for years to come. He concluded that the best approach was a hybrid electric vehicle that combined a traditional engine with one or more electric motors, all managed by a sophisticated control system.
While teaching at the University of Maryland, Alex was accepted into the University’s small company incubator program. It was an opportunity for Alex to further develop his ideas surrounding hybrid technology.
In 1991, Alex turned his full attention to creating the most efficient and cost-effective hybrid electric vehicle system possible. PAICE (Power Assisted Internal Combustion Engine) was formally incorporated in 1992 with the University’s support.
Bob Templin, a respected leader in US auto industry, was introduced to Paice after a chance encounter with a board member. After meeting with Alex, he came away impressed with the small company’s technology. Templin had spent 40+ years inside General Motors and served as chief engineer at Cadillac. He knew cars better than almost anyone. “You’ve got it,” he told Alex.
Templin soon joined the Paice Board of Directors. He urged the company to patent its technology and begin working on a prototype. Paice secured its first US patent — the ‘970 patent — in 1994. Today, the company has 30 U.S. and foreign patents related to hybrid vehicle technology.
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