Toyota and Mazda look to be expanding their already fruitful partnership. The two automakers are reportedly talking about now sharing both fuel cell and plug-in technology. This is on top of other ways they’re already in bed together. Mazda will start building a small Toyota car at its Mexico plant later this year, while Toyota’s given Mazda license to use its hybrid technology.
Under the new deal in the works, Toyota would offer its plug-in hybrid and fuel cell technologies to Mazda. Mazda would, in return, provide its fuel-efficient gas and diesel engine SkyActiv technologies to Toyota. Collaborations like this are a move more automakers are making in efforts to cut cost when it comes to research and development.
“At Toyota, we believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen,” says Bob Carter who is the Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations at Toyota Motor Sales in the U.S. “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.”
Mazda, meanwhile, has been behind the eight ball in developing alternative fuel cars. It’s chosen to spend the bulk of its R&D budget, which is about one-tenth of Toyota’s, on developing fuel-efficient conventional engines, instead of electric or fuel cell technology. Last month at an earnings meeting, Mazda Chief Executive Masamichi Kogai said the automaker would “seek the wisdom of other makers” for technologies that it cannot develop on its own. Teaming up with Toyota does just that and will give Mazda a huge leg up in the EV game.
Toyota, considered the industry’s alternative vehicle pioneer, is currently the only automaker with a hydrogen vehicle, the Mirai, ready for the mass-market. It has a cruising range of up to 300 miles and can be fueled up in under five-minutes. In January, Toyota announced that it will share the FCVs technology patents that is uses in the Mirai royalty-free in an exchange for other automakers technology information until 2020. Toyota sees this as a strategic move to quicken the advancement of hydrogen cars and hydrogen stations.
The Mirai is currently available in Japan and goes on sale in California this October. Customers can pre-order one this summer.
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