Small Cap Strategist is published by Crystal Equity Research an independent research resource on small capitalization stocks. Follow along as we discuss the most recent trends in the small-cap sector, investigate interesting companies and pan a few not-so-promising stocks.
week Toyota Motor
announced its intention to share its patented fuel cell technology with other
from competing auto manufacturers can get a look at Toyota’s fuel cell designs
up through 2020.Toyota has taken a page
from Tesla Motors
which made its electric vehicle battery designs available to the public last year.
the car business is intensely competitive, automotive manufacturers are
typically quite circumspect about their innovations.However, producers of cars powered by
alternative energy sources are faced with a unique problem-the
need to develop scale in the power supply chain.By encouraging battery and fuel cell adoption
by other car manufacturers as well as innovation in power supplies, Tesla and
Toyota hope to foster an expansion of the power distribution network.Readily available power supplies should give
consumers greater confidence to adopt the new cars.
is prepared to share over 5,000 patents with other automakers without royalty
arrangements.The patents cover fuel
cells composed of membrane electrode assemblies positioned between
separators.These fuel cells are
‘stacked’ one against another to achieve the desired voltage.Toyota’s patents cover the membrane
composition, separator materials, and the stacking methods among other
materials, designs and processes.The
company has also developed a unique boost converter to increase the voltage and
thereby reduce the number of required fuel cells.A drive battery, motor/generator combination
and power control unit complete the system.Toyota has also patented the three-layer design of its hydrogen tanks
used to store the required hydrogen on the vehicle.There should be a great deal to learn from
pouring over the patents.
has had mixed results from its technology sharing.So far it does not appear that any automotive
manufacturer has adopted Tesla’s battery-powered drive train designs.After only one year it might be a bit too
early to suggest Tesla’s policy is a failure.Perhaps Toyota’s gesture will not be any better received.Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen already have
fuel cell designs.Still, it would be beneficial
if innovators in battery charging or battery swap schemes used the designs to
plan an entrance to the market.
recently introduced the Mirai passenger car at automotive trade
shows as one of the first commercial vehicles in history to be powered by
hydrogen fuel cells.Reportedly the first production run for the
car is only around 10,000 cars.Most of
these first units are expected to be put on the market at dealerships in
California where there are at least some sources for hydrogen fuel.To move to larger, more economic production
runs, Toyota needs entrepreneurs to see the bigger picture and invest in
hydrogen filling stations or at make such services available to petrol stations
already in place.
Motors was apparently been the inspiration for Toyota’s magnanimous gift of
fuel cell information to the public.Surprisingly, Tesla’s celebrity CEO Elon Musk has been dismissive of fuel
cell technology, referring to ‘fool’ cells.This is not the first time Toyota has been
the butt of jokes about its cars.Two
decades ago there were many naysayers when Toyota introduced the Prius
as the first gas-electric hybrid passenger car.Toyota is now selling two dozen different hybrid passenger car models
and sold about 6.1 million hybrid cars in 2013.
is doubtful Toyota would open the kimono so wide if its engineers were not
highly confident in their fuel cell innovation.Likely this confidence is supported by their experience with hybrid car
technologies.I believe the appearance
of the Mirai in our midst will have the same catalytic impact on consumer
choice and business strategies as did the Prius.Cars driving down the road with hydrogen fuel
cells could earn this technology much respect, Elon Musk’s comments
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of the Small
Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity
Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies