BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation have signed binding agreements that will see the two automotive powerhouses collaborate in developing a fuel cell system, a mid-sized sports vehicle and lightweight technology. This move follows an MoU signed by both parties back in June 2012.
In light of the growth in demand of alternative energy vehicles, the key agenda of the agreement is the development of a fuel cell system. This will include a fuel cell stack, hydrogen tank, motor and battery, all of which are targeted for completion in 2020. Both parties will also jointly develop codes and standards for the hydrogen infrastructure of fuel cell vehicles.
The second item on the menu, the one which we’re most interested in, is the co-development of a mid-sized sports vehicle. In the press release, it is stated that both companies will ‘combine each other’s technology and knowledge at a high level’. Whether it is an M3 with Japanese reliability or an 86 with Bavarian underpinnings, it will not take long before we learn more about the vehicle as the concept is expected to be unveiled by the end of 2013.
BMW and Toyota are also cooperating in the development of technology pertaining to lightweight materials and lithium-air batteries. As the industry moves towards energy efficiency, the development of lighter body materials is crucial and it is indicated that the two companies are currently working on new batteries which have a higher energy density than lithium ion batteries used at present.
In an era where all things point towards fuel economy, energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, BMW and Toyota may just have struck a game changing deal. As all of the big guns in the automotive industry push their efforts into future technology, the market has become a race to see who comes up with the standard of tomorrow first. And by the look of things, it’s a race this tag team duo is out to win.