Toyota Motor Corporation is the auto industry’s biggest advocate for hydrogen-fueled vehicles and have decided to not enforce over 5,600 patents on hydrogen fuel-cell technology through 2020. This allows rival automakers to use their research royalty-free.

This move will allow other automakers to bring out their own zero-emission, hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Toyota is hoping that by sharing this technology, industry interest in fuel cells will be broadened, and hydrogen will become a more viable alternative to gasoline.

According to Autoweek, “There are only about a dozen public hydrogen fueling stations in the U.S., but if companies license Toyota’s patents to put fuel cells into cars, trucks and buses— and supplement Toyota’s investments in hydrogen infrastructure… development of fueling stations could follow more quickly.”

The patents that Toyota has made available include 1,970 related to fuel cell “stack”, 3,350 related to the software used to control the system, 290 related to hydrogen storage tanks and 70 for hydrogen production and supply. Toyota’s patents for vehicles will be available for royalty-free license until 2020, while the patents for hydrogen production and supply will be free to use indefinitely.

While Toyota prepares to sell the Mirai— a sleek, hydrogen-fueled sedan— this fall, check out our current Toyota inventory in the meantime.

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