In its first tie-up with a Chinese company, Toyota Motor will provide parts for fuel cell vehicles to Beiqi Foton Motor for use in buses, the Japanese automaker announced on Monday.
Components to be supplied to Beiqi Foton — a member of the Beijing Automotive Group — include fuel cell equipment and hydrogen tanks.
Toyota aims to significantly boost use of its fuel cell technology in China by 2022, when Beijing hosts the Winter Olympics.
Beijing Automotive Group, also known as BAIC, has a major presence in China’s electric vehicles market, although its share of conventional passenger vehicles is low. Key local rivals include BYD.
Toyota, which introduced the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle in 2014, aims to promote the vehicle as next-generation rivals to hybrid and electric vehicles. But their popularity has been hindered by a lack of refueling infrastructure.
Toyota thinks it can grow the market by teaming up with a major Chinese player, as both the government and companies see fuel cell vehicles as viable options to tackle energy and environmental issues.
Toyota recently announced it will allow free access to 23,000 patents for electrically driven vehicle technology, mainly those for hybrids. It also extended use of its patents related to fuel cell vehicles to 2030 under a program started in 2015.
The automaker already has fuel cell technology tie-ups with German automaker BMW Group and other global players.