California-based US automaker Tesla last year surprised the automotive world by saying it will release its patents on electric cars into the wild, free of charge, to advance the sector’s development.
Now, in a move that mirrors the niche luxury battery-electric manufacturer, Toyota – the world’s biggest automaker by sales and also the auto industry’s most renowned advocate of fuel cell hydrogen electric cars has announced it will do the same. Essentially, Toyota said it decided not to enforce more than 5,600 patents on the internally developed hydrogen fuel-cell technology through 2020, allowing its competitors to benefit from the company’s development and accelerate the overall introduction of the research. Toyota and Tesla – now on opposing paths because fuel cell hydrogen-based power is a direct competitor to battery-powered electricity – were once partners in the development of EVs. Toyota sold a factory dirt cheap to the US startup and back in 2011 agreed to buy a 2.4% stake in the company while also ordering battery packs from Tesla for an electric version of the RAV4 crossover. That collaboration is history now, as Toyota prepares to launch the sales of the Mirai – a hydrogen-fueled sedan set to arrive in the US this fall.
Toyota hopes that sharing the technology can increase development interest as research and production costs have long been one of the main factors that deterred automaker from putting hydrogen power as a viable alternative to the traditional internal combustion engine. The Mirai is priced in the US from $57,500 and federal and California subsidies could lower the price for consumers by up to $13,000.
Via Automotive News