Almost 5 years after Elon Musk allowed other manufacturers access to Tesla patents without fear of legal action – effectively making them open source – Toyota has announced that it's opening up its vehicle electrification patent archive to help speed up the development and adoption of electric vehicles.
Research and development of electric vehicles is costly and time consuming, as startups like Faraday Future know only too well. Toyota wants to help, announcing that it will grant royalty-free licenses to other manufacturers for nearly 24,000 patents (including some pending applications) relating to vehicle electrification technologies.
The focus of the electric vehicle technology being opened up by Toyota is for hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell electrics rather than battery EVs, and represents patents registered over more than 20 years of research and development. That shapes up as nearly 2,600 electric motor patents, 2,020 relating to power control units, 7,550 for system controls, 1,320 for engine transaxles, 2,200 for chargers, and the addition of 2,380 fuel cell patents to the 5,680 already available since 2015.
The company will also offer technical support to vehicle manufacturers that make use of Toyota's motors, batteries, power control units, electronic control units and more – for a fee.
"Based on the high volume of inquiries we receive about our vehicle electrification systems from companies that recognize a need to popularize hybrid and other electrified vehicle technologies, we believe that now is the time for cooperation," said the firm's Shigeki Terashi. "If the number of electrified vehicles accelerates significantly in the next 10 years, they will become standard, and we hope to play a role in supporting that process."
Applications for access to the royalty-free patents are open now, with the doors remaining ajar until the end on 2030.
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