Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Beijing — Japan’s Toyota is setting up a research institute in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University to study car technology using hydrogen power and other green technologies that could ease environmental problems in China.

The initiative, outlined by Toyota president and CEO Akio Toyoda in a speech at Tsinghua University on Sunday, is part of the Japanese carmaker’s efforts to share more technology with China as it seeks to expand its business in the country by beefing up manufacturing capacity and distribution channels, a source close to Toyota said.

The Tsinghua-Toyota Joint Research Institute will conduct research into cars and new technology to solve environmental problems in China, including reducing traffic accidents, Toyota said.

The institute will “cooperate in research not only related to cars for Chinese consumers, but also in research related to active utilisation of hydrogen energy that can help solve China’s energy problems”, the company said.

The move dovetails with Toyota’s announcement in April that it would offer carmakers and suppliers around the world free access to nearly 24,000 patents for electric vehicle technologies.

Executive vice-president Shigeki Terashi said earlier in April that the carmaker intended to become a tier 2 supplier of hybrid systems and that it had already received inquiries from more than 50 companies.

Toyota said that it had started to supply fuel-cell vehicle parts to Chinese commercial vehicle maker Foton and SinoHytec, without giving financial details of the deal. The company said it hopes to cooperate with more companies in China to promote fuel-cell vehicle penetration in China.