After last June’s MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), the Toyota Motor Corporation and the BMW Group announced today the signing of binding agreements for the joint development of new technologies and a new sports car.
BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofer and Toyota President Akio Toyoda both expressed their satisfaction in signing the binding agreements and their shared belief that this partnership will be beneficial for their groups and help them to produce better vehicles.
This deal, which will increase the level of cooperation between the two groups significantly, concerns four main points:
-A Fuel Cell System: BMW and Toyota both believe that fuel cell technology is one of the solutions for zero emission vehicles. Thus they will share their respective technologies in order to develop a complete fuel-cell system vehicle system comprising not only of the fuel cell stack and system but also the hydrogen battery, motor and tank. The target set for this project is 2020.
-A Sports Vehicle: The two automakers have agreed to initiate a feasibility study for the development of a joint platform for a mid-size sports vehicle that will be completed by the end of 2013.
-Lightweight Technology: The aim is to reduce the weight of vehicle bodies through the use of lightweight materials, such as reinforced composites. This materials will be developed “with an eye to utilize them” in the new mid-size sports car mentioned above, as well as other BMW and Toyota vehicles.
-Post-lithium-ion Battery Technology: The two groups will begin joint research for the development of a lithium-air battery that will sport an energy density much greater than that of existing lithium-ion batteries.
Since fuel-cell-powered cars are at least a decade away and the lithium-air battery development was just announced, the most interesting part is the 2013 deadline set for the new sports car platform project. It took Toyota a while to get there but rolling out a second sports car, one co-developed with BMW to join the 86/GT86/Scion FR-S is good news, indeed.
By Andrew Tsaousis