The world’s largest automaker, Toyota Motor, and its Japanese rival are reportedly engaged in discussions surrounding the expansion of their current technology agreement towards fuel cell vehicles, according to insider sources.
The drive to expand their successful technology partnership would make sense under the global task of further reducing emissions and lift fuel economy – the costs to comply to the toughening standards are greater than ever. The two Japanese carmakers have an ongoing technology and production cooperation and according to two persons that talked to Reuters on condition of anonymity, Toyota wants to also provide its fuel cell technology to Mazda. The report also surrounded the possibility for Mazda to gain access to Toyota’s plug-in hybrid technology. Mazda was mulling the return of fuel-efficient powertrain technology that has been developed under the proprietary SkyActiv nameplate.
According to the sources, Mazda has decided to abort in-house development of proprietary fuel cell technology after Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, started to produce the Mirai, the first mass-market fuel cell vehicle. Toyota has abandoned the development of battery-operated electrics in favor of the hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, claiming they bring the most promising zero-emission technology, since their patterns of mileage and refueling time are very close to conventional, internal combustion-powered autos. The Japanese auto giant has been developing fuel cell technology for decades and has already started to share some of its patents for free with anyone interested, in a bid to hasten the technology’s development process.