Toyota to allow free access to 24 000 of its hybrid patents

This way the company hopes to boost the market as the industry adopts stricter emissions regulations

Toyota Prius i-Tech

Toyota Motor Corp. announced Wednesday it will allow royalty-free access to its nearly 24,000 patents for hybrid and other vehicles using electrification technology, in a move analysts say will help keep the technology relevant by encouraging competitors to enter the market.

Rather than shutting rivals out, Toyota hopes that making its motor and battery technology accessible to other companies will broaden the market, in particular for hybrids, a field the auto giant leads with its Prius vehicles. The carmaker also said it will provide fee-based technical support to manufacturers developing and selling electric vehicles using Toyota’s motors, batteries and other technologies.

“Based on the high volume of inquiries we receive about our vehicle electrification systems from companies that recognise a need to popularise hybrid and other electrified vehicle technologies, we believe that now is the time for co-operation,” said Shigeki Terashi, executive vice-president of Toyota at a news conference in the city of Nagoya, near Toyota headquarters.

The move does not come as a surprise, with Toyota previously hinting that it planned to share its hybrid vehicle expertise with Chinese companies in response to a request from Beijing. Yet, it remains uncertain whether the use of Toyota patents will be as widespread as the carmaker hopes, observers said. Toyota said in January 2015 it will offer patents related to its fuel-cell vehicles but it has only led to a dozen contracts. Chinese manufacturers, however, are seen as likely to be interested in the gasoline-electric hybrid technology since the world’s largest auto market by volume also moves to implement stricter fuel economy regulations. In addition, the country has set out ambitious plans to become a world leader in fully electric vehicles by 2025.

Similar articles