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good guy toyota makes 24 000 hybrid related patents available royalty free

Good guy Toyota makes 24,000 hybrid related patents available royalty-free

The giant is banking on the move to rapidly expand hybrid tech adoption among other carmakers

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

4 Apr 2019

Toyota almost single-handedly brought hybrids technology from a niche to the mainstream in automotive consumerism. It launched the first Prius 22 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Nonetheless, even with all the leaps and bounds made in hybrid tech, there’s still plenty to be done for the rest of the field to catch up.

Now in a bid to quicken the pace of other carmakers adopting hybrid tech, Toyota has made 24,000 of its patents related to hybrid powertrains and related technology available royalty-free. Toyota will grant royalty-free licenses to other carmakers all the way through 2030 on its hybrid tech with a goal of exponentially increasing the technology in other cars,

“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 cooperation,” said Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi.

The move isn’t a first for Toyota. In 2015, the giant pledged to offer access to its hydrogen fuel-cell patents royalty-free until 2020. It offers consultations for a fee as well, with Subaru taking up the offer by contracting Toyota’s plug-in hybrid tech in the Crosstrek Hybrid (sold as the XV locally).

However, industry observers note that the move isn’t purely from the goodness of Toyota’s heart as there's no such thing as a free lunch. Reuters notes that all-electric vehicles are giving Toyota a run for its money. Though an all-electric model powered by cutting edge solid-state batteries has been mooted, other carmakers have beaten it to the lead.

By getting other smaller carmakers to adopt its hybrid tech, the move might result in helping it maintain its position as the leader in green cars.

Although hybrids now enjoy mainstream acceptance, they still only account for just three per cent of global new car sales; of which Toyota accounts for a staggering 80 per cent of said volume

Nonetheless, increasingly stringent emission standards are forcing carmakers to take a serious look at adopting hybrid or electric tech. With hybrids being a more feasible hop forward rather than a leap into the unknown with electric tech, Toyota’s move to make its patents available for free could very well be a shrewd move on its part.

TAGS: hybrid toyota