Toyota to study green autos in China

Japanese carmaker Toyota is partnering with China’s prestigious Tsinghua University to develop hydrogen-powered and self-driving cars as well as other green technology.

The Tsinghua-Toyota Joint Research Institute will seek to research green tech while the carmaker expands its business throughout the world’s most populous country.

“The establishment of the Joint Research Institute will enable the two to cooperate in research not only related to cars for Chinese consumers, but also in research related to active utilization of hydrogen energy that can help solve China’s energy problems and other certain social issues,” Toyota said in a press release.

The announcement comes after Toyota recent move to offer carmakers free access to around 24,000 patents for electric vehicle innovations to “to promote the popularization of electrified vehicles”.

Toyota also announced that it would supply Chinese carmakers Foton and SinoHytec with fuel cell parts but did not disclose financial details of those deals.

The Japanese company was quick to embrace hybrid technology, wrote Knowledge@Wharton, a blog at the University of Pennsylvania business school. Toyota has sold 13 million Prius cars, for example.

But Toyota has been slow to embrace 100% electrified cars. The China institute and its patent decision reflect a new focus on entering that field, either as a carmaker or as a supplier to companies that are making vehicles using some Toyota products.

Image credit: Toyota

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