Klaus Bischoff, the man who helped make a 100 mph-capable car, dies at 73

Klaus Bischoff spent decades working on futuristic cars, including high-speed driverless cars. It’s the kind of feat that would be expected to extend his life, but the German-born inventor and engineer died of cancer on 20 January. He was 73.

Born in 1956, Bischoff started working in academia and in the commercial automotive industry. He graduated with a PhD in hydraulic engineering in 1979 from the University of Stuttgart. From there, he served in various positions, including director of technical development at Audi of Northern Germany and management board member at Porsche AG. Most recently, Bischoff served as chairman of the board of J M Melo and Son, a company that developed a battery that would be able to run 100 mph with power efficiency comparable to that of electric motor or conventional internal combustion engine.

His hard work finally paid off in 2006, when the technology became feasible for the production of a 100 mph-capable car. That technology has now been taken over by Lucid Motors, a new electric car company founded by Bischoff’s family and backed by Renault SA and Alphabet’s parent company, Waymo. Lucid hopes to meet its 2020 deadline for entering production.

We often, like many others, recall Bischoff as a key figure in the Swiss research on electric car power train technology. Another accolade he received is being named one of the “Most Influential Scientists” by Time Magazine. For someone who will be remembered less for technical achievements than for his years of tireless work, perhaps we can agree that Klaus Bischoff was among the least deserving of what some might call “disruptive innovation.”

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