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Toyota share price down, to share its fuel-cell technology for free

Toyota Motor Corp announced on Monday it will grant access to its 5 680 fuel-cell vehicle-related patents to automakers around the world without asking for a royalty fee, as a part of a plan to popularize the technology.

The decision was made public at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and follows rival Teslas June announcement to allow free access to its electric-car patents. At the time CEO Elon Musk pointed out similar reason behind the decision, the advancement of electric vehicle technology.

Toyota said it will allow royalty-free use of its FCV patents to companies, who either produce or sell fuel-cell powered vehicles, until the initial market introduction period ends 2020. However, the Japanese company would provide its 70 fueling-related patents indefinitely to those who install and operate hydrogen stations.

“Hopefully by sharing these patents with others, new fuel cell components and systems can be refined and improved to increase performance, reduce costs, and attract a much broader market of buyers,” Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior vice-president, said at CES.

The fuel cell technology generates electricity by extracting an electron from a hydrogen molecule, producing no pollution, only water vapor.

Toyota said that it would ask any carmaker that uses its technology to also share hydrogen-fuel related patents. However, the Japanese company would not initiate any legal actions, should its request gets rejected.

The Mirai, the companys own fuel-cell powered vehicle, is scheduled to be released in US and Europe first and then globally later this year. Toyota is aiming to sell 700 units of the sedans through 2015, with expectation that number to drastically increase by the 2020s as more refueling stations become operational.

“Today’s announcement on patents has less to do with the hydrogen fuel cell car than it does about the cultural growth of a hydrogen society,” Mr. Carter said.

Major industry players have already teamed-up among themselves in development of the fuel-cell technology. Nissan has tied-up with Ford and Daimler, while Honda is working with General Motors.

Toyota lost 0.67% on Monday and an additional 2.76% on Tuesday to close at JPY 7 300 in Tokyo, marking a one-year increase of 15.87%. The company is valued at JPY 25.66 trillion. According to the Financial Times, the 25 analysts offering 12-month price targets for Toyota Motor Corp have a median target of JPY 8 500, with a high estimate of JPY 9 400 and a low estimate of JPY 7 000. The median estimate represents a 16.44% increase from the last close price.

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