The Japanese company is reportedly considering the idea of sharing its next generation hybrid powertrains with competitors in a bid to hasten the auto industry’s shift to greener cars.
The automaker has started numerous engineering projects of late – for example the all-new TNGA platform already seen on the latest Prius – but also part of engine and transmission rosters need renewal. Their latest innovations include a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder, two transmissions, as well as the next generation of the brand’s now famous hybrid system. Now a new report suggests some of these technologies, including the crucial hybrid powertrain, might soon be offered to other car companies. The biggest automaker last year, Toyota is apparently mulling the sale of complete powertrain modules to its rivals – in a bid to speed up development of electrified, lower-emission vehicles.
This is akin to Tesla’s decision last year to open up its patent lineup for others. In addition, the Japanese automaker explained the current version of the hybrid system was specifically designed for Toyotas, limiting the supplying options for new customers. “Until now, we couldn’t sell the same inverter used in Toyota’s previous hybrid system to other customers because it wouldn’t fit the motor, or the voltage was different,” comments Yoshifumi Kato, executive director of engineering R&D at Denso, Toyota’s largest supplier. “We can avoid this issue if suppliers can sell the entire system.” Toyota has plans to reveal 17 versions of nine engines, 10 variants of 4 gearboxes, and 10 iterations of 6 hybrid systems – some of them likely offered to competitors as well.