Toyota Motor Corp and Tsinghua University are setting up joint institute in Beijing to research hydrogen cells and other green technology to solve the environmental problems of China.
Toyota’s President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda announced in a speech at Tsinghua University, Beijing, that his company and the Chinese insitution partnered up to create a joint research center to study hydrogen power and other green technologies.
According to the official statement, the work in this ’Tsinghua-Toyota Joint Research Institute’ will not cover only fuel-cell technology for automotive applications but other possible utilizations of hydrogen energy that could solve the Asian giant’s energy problems. The cited fields of cooperation also include the reduction of traffic accidents, which probably means self-driving technology.
A source close to Toyota explained this move with that the Japanese carmaker wanted to expand its production capacity and distribution channels in China. The company would supply not just China with more fuel cells but a much wider market. The declared goal of Toyota is the promotion of fuel-cell vehicle penetration in the country.
Toyota is the maker of the first hybrid car, the 1997 Prius. With 13 million vehicles sold world-wide, the carmaker owns 80% of the market of hybrid vehicles.
A month earlier, Toyota announced that it had provided royalty-free access to 24,000 electric vehicle technology patents for carmakers and suppliers around the world until 2030. The company had previously licensed hybrid technology to automakers like Nissan, Mazda, and Subaru. Shigeki Terashi told Reuters that Toyota intended to become a tier 2 supplier of hybrid systems. The Executive Vice President stated that more than 50 companies had contacted Toyota with inquiries.
Hybrids and a hidrogen cell-breakthrough are not Toyota’s only bet. The Japanese carmaker has introduced two new electric vehicles on Shanghai Auto. The CH-R and the IZOA will be the first BEVs (battery-electric) to launch in China under the brand.
Toyota announced today that it had started to deliver fuel cell vehicle parts to Foton and SinoHytec, Chinese makers of commercial vehicles (hybrid buses).