Toyota Shares Thousands of Fuel-Cell Patents for Free

At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Toyota has revealed that their full-cell patents will be available to the other industry companies royalty free. Truth be told, some of the patents are free though 2020, which is a time frame that’s been considered as an incubation phase of fuel cell vehicles.

Since they think that the first generation of FCVs is critically important for the future of the technology, they want to share what they know about fuel cell vehicles free of charge. There are numerous patents – approximately 5,680. However, not all the patents are related to the manufacturing of fuel cell cars.

Toyota Fuel Cell 2015 CES

Dr. Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and futurist in front of 2016 Toyota Mirai at 2015 CES.

They’re offering around 1,970 licenses about fuel cell stack, about 290 regarding the high-pressure hydrogen tank and about 3,350 related to the fuel cell system control technology. While those will be available royalty free through 2020, Toyota’s 70 patents regarding hydrogen stations will be free indefinitely.

Toyota Mirai on the Street

So, how do they expect to profit from sharing their patents for free? Well, at this point it’s not clear, but we’ll investigate this further. Currently, we can only assume that this is a Toyota’s way to jump-start the development of hybrids, but at the first place, to offer what electric vehicles can’t.

2016 Mirai FCV

If there’s any automaker can make this happen, that would be Toyota. There are other manufacturers in the world which have enough resources to push the fuel cell technology on the market, but Toyota already has pretty big experience with the Prius. Don’t forget that they’ve been developing fuel cell vehicles for quite a while, since they’re dedicated to this kind of green technology. The 2016 Toyota Mirai is expected to be the next Prius.

Fuel Cell Vehicle Hydrogen

Of course, this can’t be done with just one company involved. Fuel cell vehicles need hydrogen stations, further technology improvements, decreased production cost and a number of other issues to be considered, but the promise they bring is inspiring. Fuel cell technology can be revolutionary.

2016 Toyota Mirai FCV Sedan

And after all, even if they don’t manage to make the next big thing in the automotive world out of the fuel cell technology — it’s great that the current green cars have an alternative. This can result in unimaginable achievements. What if all the other automakers join Toyota in their efforts? It’s time to be optimistic about the future. And Japanese word for future is Mirai. Enough said.

Photos: Toyota

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