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Toyota to share hybrid vehicle secrets for free

Car manufacturer Toyota is to offer royalty-free access to its hybrid vehicle technology patents until 2030.

It is part of a move to promote hybrid cars as a bridge to fully electric vehicles (EVs).

It will grant licences for nearly 24,000 patented technologies relating to motors, converters and batteries.

The Toyota-designed Prius was the world's first mass-produced hybrid car and the firm has sold 13 million hybrid cars since its introduction.

"Based on the high volume of inquiries we receive about our vehicle electrification systems from companies that recognise a need to popularise hybrid and other electrified vehicle technologies, we believe that now is the time for co-operation," said Toyota's executive vice-president Shigeki Terashi in a statement.

Chinese firms are particularly interested in the technology and have ambitious plans to become a world leader in fully electric vehicles by 2025.

Hybrid cars combine a conventional combustion engine with an electric motor. They offer high fuel efficiency, low emissions and do not require charging infrastructure

Toyota has helped to make them mass market, but concentrating on developing them has meant that the Japanese car giant has fallen behind in making fully-electric alternatives.

Despite starting development on the technology back in the 1980s, it has no mass market electric vehicle on offer yet.

Norway currently has the highest penetration of electric cars, with 10% of all vehicles on the road being EVs as of 2018.

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