Toyota will allow others to use several thousand of its patented or patent-pending technologies for free to speed the development of its hydrogen-powered car dubbed the Mirai, due to be sold in the U.S. by October.
Toyota has been working on a hydrogen-powered car for some time. But now it’s opened up its technologies to anyone, even its competitors, in the hopes of speeding the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles and their fueling stations.
Toyota executive Bob Carter compared Mirai’s development to the gamble the company took on the electric Prius, which now has become a ubiquitous sight on most roads.
“We can speed the metabolism of everyone’s research and development,” he said.
Don’t expect a rush of carmakers to line up, though. Quite a few have their own hydrogen fuel-cell cars in the works. But there’s the quandary of the car and the fuel station. Which comes first?
Toyota’s patents include 70 designs for hydrogen-refueling stations, the plans for which are also now royalty-free.
Carter says California is on its way to building 100 stations with some $200 million the state set aside. The carmaker offered one of the main station developers a $7.2 million loan for maintenance and operations and has partnered with another company to develop stations in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.