Toyota Is Releasing 24,000 Hybrid Car Patents to Competitors

For royalty-free use until 2030

toyota patents
Toyota Prius on display at 89th Geneva International Motor Show. (Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)
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The world’s biggest maker and seller of hybrid vehicles is sharing its secrets.

The Verge reported that Toyota announced Wednesday that the company will release nearly 24,000 hybrid car patents to other automakers. The patents will be available for royalty-free use until 2030.

Additionally, the Japanese automaker will offer consultation services, providing technical support to other carmakers interested in using Toyota’s hybrid technology.

The brand’s decision to open up access to its hybrid patents will aid automakers around the world who have spent the last few years developing hybrid vehicles. The shift toward hybrid technology among automakers worldwide reflects a response to tightened emissions regulations introduced by European and Chinese governments in recent years. Access to Toyota’s patents could help expedite the process of getting more hybrid vehicles on the road.

Toyota debuted its first hybrid, the Prius, back in 1997. Since then, the automaker has become the biggest name in the hybrid car industry, dominating about 80% of the market. Since introducing its hybrid technology worldwide in 2000, Toyota has sold more than 13 million hybrid vehicles.

Toyota’s move to release its patents isn’t unprecedented. The move comes five years after Elon Musk first announced on Tesla’s blog that the company was offering up its patents because it was part of the company’s core belief that, “other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.” It was reported that within a year other auto manufacturers had taken Musk up on the offer.

It isn’t the first time Toyota has released patents, either. A year after Tesla’s announcement, in 2015, the company granted access to nearly 6,000 patents related to its hydrogen car technology. However, hydrogen technology has yet to catch on at the same rate as Toyota’s hybrid advancements, as The Verge noted. 

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