The automaker Toyota provides its patents for fuel cell technology free of charge to the competition. Overall, 5.680 inventions and developments may thus be used by other automakers in the future. Patents on fuel cell stacks, high-pressure hydrogen tanks, control software and hydrogen filling stations are granted.
The Japanese, who have launched the first fuel-cell-powered serial production car in Japan with the mid-range model Mirai at the end of 2014, are hoping that more manufacturers will jump on the fuel cell train and help set up a filling station infrastructure. Toyota is currently a pioneer in mass production of fuel cell vehicles, and plans to build tens of thousands of vehicles in the coming years. In addition to the still relatively high costs for the emission-free passenger cars, the thin petrol station network is considered the main obstacle to the success of the technology.
Toyota is not the first automaker to promote a new technology with the release of patents. Earlier, the electric car pioneer Tesla had already revealed numerous in-house developments for use by the competition.
Author: Holger Holzer / SP-X