Toyota to share fuel cell technology with auto industry

Japanese carmaker Toyota has announced it will freely share all of its hydrogen fuel cell technology in order to spur development of low-emission cars around the world.


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Toyota will share 5680 fuel-cell related patents, including key components of the hydrogen-powered Mirai, launched yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The hydrogen fuel cell patents will be available until 2020 to carmakers who produce fuel cell vehicles and energy companies who establish and operate fuelling stations.

“When good ideas are shared, great things can happen,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota USA. “The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration between automakers, government regulators, academia and energy providers.”

Collaboration

As part of licensing agreements, Toyota will request – but not require – that other companies share their fuel cell-related patents with Toyota for similar royalty-free use.

“By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the development of new technologies and move into the future of mobility more quickly, effectively and economically,” added Carter.

Last June, Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors took a similar step in making its patents available to other carmakers.

Toyota also taken steps to establish the refuelling infrastructure needed to support a future fleet of hydrogen cars, offering loans and logistical support to build 31 hydrogen stations in California and the US North-East.

Future plans

In the UK, Toyota rival Honda is being equally proactive in hydrogen infrastructure, having opened the UK’s first commercial-scale hydrogen refueling facility in Swindon last October.

Toyota is one of a record number of carmakers at CES in Las Vegas, with several manufacturers showing off auto-pilot cars, which will reportedly boost productivity.

Check out the edie feature on six sustainable transport systems that will change the way we move around in the future.

Brad Allen

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