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Toyota to make thousands of hybrid patents royalty-free (FT)

3 April 2019


Financial Times titleToyota to make thousands of hybrid patents royalty-free

FT subtitle: Move said to help hybrid vehicles stay relevant in changing market

Date of publishing: 3 April 2019

“Toyota plans to make thousands of patents relating to its hybrid technology royalty-free, in a move analysts say will help keep the technology relevant by encouraging competitors to enter the market.  

The Japanese carmaker said on Wednesday that it would release nearly 24,000 patents for vehicle electrification technology. It also pledged to offer paid-for technical support to other manufacturers using Toyota’s technology, with the aim of expanding the use of such vehicles.

Nikkei Asian Review, which first reported the plans, said the move was intended to keep hybrid vehicles relevant in an industry that is looking to shift to fully electric vehicles.

Toyota has long maintained that hybrid vehicles are a cost-effective alternative to conventional vehicles, negating the need for charging infrastructure and delivering roughly double their fuel efficiency with comparable driving ranges. The latest strategic shift is expected to help Toyota, which pioneered the production of hybrid vehicles but has lagged behind on fully electric cars, buy time for its own transition to newer technology.

“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 co-operation,” said Shigeki Terashi, executive vice-president of Toyota.

The move does not come as a surprise, with Toyota previously hinting that it planned to share its hybrid vehicle expertise with Chinese companies in response to a request from Beijing. 

The patents will be especially relevant for Chinese automobile companies as they look to comply with tougher emissions regulations. 

The country has set out ambitious plans to become a world leader in fully electric vehicles by 2025. However, hybrids remain an important bridge technology, with Chinese officials acknowledging the need for petrol-electric vehicles and other technologies to meet environmental targets.”



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