BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) have signed a deal to continue their successful strategic long-term cooperation, it has been announced.
The two firms have agreed to work together and develop a fuel cell system, a new sports car, and carry out research and development of lightweight technologies.
These agreements follow a memorandum of understanding signed in June 2012.
The two companies also announced an agreement to start research of lithium-air batteries, a post-lithium battery solution. This agreement marks the second stage of research into next-generation lithium-ion battery cells, which started in March 2012.
Fuel cell technology
A joint statement said: “The companies are convinced that fuel cell technology is one of the solutions necessary to achieve zero emissions. BMW Group and TMC are to share their technologies and to jointly develop a fundamental fuel-cell vehicle system, including not only a fuel cell stack and system, but also a hydrogen tank, motor and battery, aiming for completion in 2020.”
BMW and Toyota will also work together to assess development of a hydrogen fuelling network and in creating codes and standards necessary for the popularisation of fuel cell vehicles.
New BMW, Toyota sports car
The companies agreed to set-up a feasibility study to define a joint platform concept for a mid-size sports vehicle that is to be completed by the end of 2013. The two companies aim to combine each other’s technology and knowledge at a high level to maximise customer satisfaction. Both companies are to share the vision to further collaborate in the field of sports vehicle development.
The companies are also to begin joint research with a goal to develop a lithium-air battery, with ‘energy density greatly exceeding that of current lithium-ion batteries’.
They will also jointly develop lightweight technologies for vehicle bodies using cutting-edge materials such as reinforced composites, with an eye to utilize these technologies in the development of a jointly developed sports-vehicle platform as well as other BMW and Toyota vehicles.
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “It is just over a year since we signed our collaborative MoU, and with each day as our relationship strengthens, we feel acutely that we are making steadfast progress. Now, we are entering the phase that promises the fruit. While placing importance on what we learn from the joint development, we will work hard together in reaching our common goal of making ever-better cars.”
Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG said: “TMC and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility. In light of the technological changes ahead, the entire automotive industry faces tremendous challenges, which we also regard as an opportunity. This collaboration is an important building block in keeping both companies on a successful course in the future.”
BMW Group and Toyota first agreed to a medium-to-long-term working relationship to develop new environment-friendly vehicles and technologies in December 2011, at which time the two companies also signed a contract under which BMW Group is to supply highly efficient diesel engines to Toyota Motor Europe. BMW Group and Toyota ―as long-term strategic partners―have since continued their joint efforts in making mobility sustainable in the future.