BMW and Toyota today announced that the car companies have teamed up to develop a new fuel-cell system and the future of lithium battery technology. The companies signed binding agreements to collaborate on several projects meant to usher in future vehicle technology.
“[Toyota] and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility," said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board at BMW. "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.”
A new fuel-cell system will be jointly developed by the companies, which includes a hydrogen tank, motor, and battery. The project is slated to be completed in 2020, and codes and standards for the hydrogen infrastructure will also be developed.
BMW and Toyota will also jointly develop lightweight technologies for vehicle bodies. The research will include reinforced composites, which could be included in another joint venture: a mid-size sports car. A feasibility study on the jointly designed car is due by the end of 2013, and the companies will combine their technology and engineering know-how to "maximise customer satisfaction.
Perhaps the most far-reaching collaboration the companies will undertake is the development of lithium-air battery technology. Such batteries would have energy densities far greater than current lithium-ion batteries.
“It is just over a year since we signed our collaborative MoU [memorandum of understanding), and with each day as our relationship strengthens, we feel acutely that we are making steadfast progress," said Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota. "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.”