Toyota is offering its hybrid technology to rivals
In a change of course, Toyota announced it will sell hybrid systems to other carmakers and give royalty-free access to hybrid vehicle patents. Toyota said it is seeking to expand use of lower-emission hybrid technology.
Toyota Executive Vice-President Shigeki Terashi said this approach should reduce investment costs significantly. His company expects demand for electrified vehicles to grow across the globe and working with Toyota can help other carmakers reach their new environmental targets.
“Until now we have been a tier 1 carmaker,” said Mr Terashi, “but now we also intend to become a tier 2 supplier of hybrid systems.”
He added he expects very few carmakers who use Toyota patents to develop their own hybrid powertrains from scratch. Instead, they will most likely use Toyota’s systems and components, that will be incorporated into their vehicles with support by Toyota.
Terashi brushed off the risk that Toyota could lose its edge by offering its hybrid technology to other carmakers, arguing that it held a crucial, 20-year head start over its rivals.
In the last 20 years, Toyota has become a dominant hybrid powertrain manufacturer, building on experience that started with the iconic Prius. Nevertheless, the carmaker is running behind competitors like Volkswagen in terms of full-electric vehicles.
By 2030, Toyota intends to sell 5.5 million electrified vehicles each year, up from around 1.6 million (15% of global sales) today.
Image: Toyota Prius