Ford and Toyota, companies that both developed and marketed vehicles with full hybrid powertrains, both stated on Monday that they would collaborate to produce new hybrid systems for light trucks and sport utility vehicles.
The companies say they anticipate products in the marketplace before the end of the decade. In addition to hybrid technology, the automakers plan to work together on the development of standards for in-car telematics and Internet-based services.
Currently, Ford and Toyota hybrid systems for front-drive vehicles are to some extent similar, so a joint effort seems to be a good fit. Both automakers presently make parallel systems that can operate the electric motor either independent of or in combination with the gasoline engine, while charging the battery pack with a generator fed by the gasoline engine and through regenerative braking.
Some news sources reported Ford licensed Toyota patents when it introduced its first hybrid vehicles and that there may have been cross-licensing of patents over the years.
In the joint statement, the automakers said that they had been separately developing rear-wheel-drive hybrid powertrains, but chose to team up to bring new technology to the marketplace sooner, as well as to save development expenses, which would lead to lower costs down the line.