BMW, Toyota Take Relationship to Next Level

By Paul Riegler on 24 January 2013
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BMW's i8 electric vehicle concept

BMW’s i8 electric vehicle concept

BMW and Toyota announced plans to work together on fuel cell systems, lightweight construction technology, Lithium-air batteries, and a joint-platform mid-sized sports vehicle.

The two automakers began their collaborative relationship in December 2011.  In March 2012, they announced an agreement to support a collaborative research project in next-generation lithium-ion battery cells, and added lightweight construction, fuel cells, and electric drivetrains to their joint efforts in June.

BMW and Toyota plan to develop a fuel cell system to help achieve zero emissions.  The two companies will share their technologies and develop a fuel-cell vehicle system that includes a fuel cell stack and system, a hydrogen tank, motor, and battery, with a goal of completion by 2020.

BMW and Toyota plan to jointly develop codes and standards for a hydrogen infrastructure that will be necessary in order for fuel cell vehicles to become popular.

Another area the two companies will work together is lightweight technology.  Here BMW and Toyota will develop lightweight construction technologies for vehicle bodies that will include the use of reinforced composites.

A third area is to investigate post-lithium-ion batteries such as lithium-air batteries that will have an energy density greatly exceeding that of current lithium-ion batteries.

Finally, the two automakers plan to undertake a feasibility study that will define a common platform for a mid-size sports vehicle.  The study should be completed by the end of 2013 and will likely include the use of lightweight composite materials.