The head of Toyota Motor Corp’s electric vehicle (EV) business told Reuters the automaker has received enquiries from more than 50 companies since announcing last week that it would offer free access to patents for EV motors and power control units.
The executive also said Toyota aims to use partnerships to cut by as much as half the outlays for expanded electric and hybrid vehicle components production in the United States, China and Japan.
“Until now we have been a tier 1 automaker, but now we also intend to become a tier 2 supplier of hybrid systems,” Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said.
Supplying rivals would greatly expand the scale of production for hardware such as power control units and electric motors that are used in gasoline-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, he added.
Toyota last week outlined plans to offer automakers and auto suppliers royalty-free access to nearly 24,000 electrified vehicle technologies patented by the Japanese auto giant. In an interview on Thursday at Toyota’s global headquarters in Toyota City, Japan, Terashi provided new details of Toyota’s strategy, and its anticipated impact on the company’s investment plans.
By offering to supply rival automakers with parts used in Toyota’s gasoline-sipping hybrid vehicles, the Japanese automaker sees a way to slash capital outlay by roughly half for new plants required to build electric car components for future models, Terashi said.