Toyota and BMW had previously signed MOU’s to build a sports car and work together on hybrids and fuel cell technology.
This year, the heads of the two companies signed further agreements in Toyota’s home city of Nagoya, Japan, to work on four projects at the cutting edge of automotive development.
The result of all this is that BMW and Toyota have agreed to formally work together on lithium-air batteries – seen as the next big thing to replace current lithium-ion batteries – along with a new sports car platform, a new generation fuel cell vehicle system and lightweight construction methods.
This deal follows other agreements signed over the past year to share technology and engines, including small BMW-built petrol and diesel engines in Europe from 2014.
A joint statement released after the event said, “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 maximize customer satisfaction.
On hand to sign the agreement with Toyota president Akio Toyoda, BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer said Toyota and BMW shared 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,” he said.
“This collaboration is an important building block in keeping both companies on a successful course in the future.”
The partners’ agreement to work on developing lithium-air batteries now has their goal to produce “a lithium-air battery with energy density greatly exceeding that of current lithium-ion batteries.
“BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation 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,” the statement said.
The BMW-Toyota tie up follows technology and manufacturing sharing agreements between Mercedes-Benz and Renault-Nissan and General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen last year.
And after all that, the cars will probably be made in Thailand anyway!