The automotive industry is not only about the nuts and bolts, but also about cost efficiency. It’s very costly to develop a brand new car or technology, thus carmakers commonly reduce cost by sharing technology and platform among competitors. Now, Toyota is the next to do so by offering its signature Hybrid Synergy Drive technology to other manufacturers.
This follows Toyota’s recent announcement to expand its next-generation hybrid powertrain offerings by 2021. Part of the reason was not for Toyota to make an extra income, but also allows Toyota to recoup its massive research and development cost.
At the same time, they are allowing its suppliers – who they co-develop its powertrains with – to supply these parts to other competitors. It’s a logical move for manufacturers to adopt a more “mainstream” technology as this would greatly reduce R&D costs.
Case in point, Denso, one of Toyota’s main suppliers which produces the inverter for Toyota’s hybrid system, only supplied to Toyota because it is unfit for use in other hybrid systems due to voltage differences. This can be avoided if manufacturers agree to use the same components for their hybrid powertrains.