Toyota releases thousands of patents for hydrogen fuel cell tech

Automaker opens up 5,600 fuel cell and related patents for royalty-free use

Toyota today announced it is opening up to other carmakers and the renewable energy market more than 5,600 patents related to its fuel cell technology.

2016 toyota fuel cell vehicle Toyota

Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell engine.

The move is similar to one last year by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who opened up patented designs for all-electric vehicle (EV) "supercharging stations," which can fully charge a battery in about 45 minutes. By allowing other automakers to use the supercharging technology, Musk said he hoped to boost EV adoption.

Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell patents include ones related to its recently announced Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car, which began selling in December with a base sticker price of $57,500.

2016 toyota fuel cell vehicle Toyota

Toyota's recently announced Mirai fuel cell vehicle.

"The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration between automakers, government regulators, academia and energy providers. By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the development of new technologies and move into the future of mobility more quickly, effectively and economically," Bob Carter, senior vice president of Automotive Operations at Toyota's U.S. Motor Sales, said in a statement.

Last year, Toyota announced a collaboration with Air Liquide to develop and supply a network of 12 hydrogen stations targeted for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The hydrogen fuel cell patents will be made available to automakers who produce and sell fuel cell vehicles, as well as to fuel cell parts suppliers and energy companies who establish and operate fueling stations, through the initial market introduction period, anticipated to last until 2020, Toyota said.

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