CES 2015: Toyota has announced it will freely share almost 6,000 patents related to hydrogen fuel cell cars.
The announcement comes after the Japanese manufacturer unveiled the Mirai (Japanese for future), its brand new hydrogen car coming to the US later in 2015.
A company wishing to use Toyota’s knowhow will be able to access the patents free, including 3,050 related to fuel cell software control systems, 1,970 related to fuel cell stacks, 290 related to high-pressure hydrogen tanks and 70 related to industrial production and supply. All they have to do is ask.
Senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota Bob Carter said: “When good ideas are shared, great things can happen,” adding that it makes sense to have “a concerted and unconventional collaboration between auto makers, government regulators, academia and energy providers”.
The move is designed to speed up the adoption of hydrogen as a propulsion method for vehicles. Tesla, the company behind the all-electric Model S, did the same thing in 2014 when boss Elon Musk announced a plan to share all patents.
Hydrogen cars are undoubtedly cleaner than petrol and diesel equivalents, but the safety concerns, high costs of building a hydrogen refuelling station and improvements in electric motors among other hurdles will make them a tough sell. It is, therefore, no wonder Toyota is opening up the floodgates.
The Toyota Mirai FCV (short for ‘fuel cell vehicle’) has a carbon fibre hydrogen tank, 153hp and a claimed range of 300 miles per fill.
It will only go on sale in the US within a sensible range of hydrogen refuelling stations, of which there are 9 in California and a further 29 approved.