Having spent the last 20 or so years developing hybrid electric technology, Toyota has a huge number of patents it can charge rival manufacturers to use. That’s great for the business, but not so good for the environment, so the Japanese company has decided to give royalty-free access to 23,740 of them.
It’s reminiscent of a similar move by Tesla a few years ago, and going back even further, when Volvo allowed other car manufacturers to use its three-point seatbelt design without having to pay for it.
The second thing Toyota will be doing is offering technical support to any firms using its motors, batteries, power and electric control units, although this is a service it’ll charge for.
The royalty-free period starts this week, and will continue until the end of 2030. Anyone wanting to gain access will have to discuss “specific licensing terms and conditions” with Toyota.
Explaining the ethos behind the move, the company said:
“By offering royalty-free patents and technical support, Toyota sees an opportunity to encourage the development and market introduction of electrified vehicles around the world. It has long considered this to be a top priority management issue, based on its strong belief that environmentally conscious vehicles can only contribute to the fight against climate change if they come into widespread use, reducing CO2 emissions.”
Meanwhile, Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said:
“Based on the high volume of enquiries 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.”