Toyota and BMW will launch new lightweight sports vehicle
Toyota and BMW have been moving towards working together on a long-term partnership for quite some time now, but today, BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation signed a binding agreement. The agreement moves the two automotive companies toward a long-term cooperation in some major areas of sustainable automotive mobility. The new joint venture will produce the development of a fuel cell system, joint development of architecture and components for a sports vehicle, and joint research and development of lightweight technologies.
Toyota and BMW are moving forward with a long-term cooperation
These agreements follow a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in June 2012. Dr. Herbert Diess, member of the board of management of BMW AG, was on had at Toyota headquarters with Akio Toyoda, Toyota president, to sign the agreement. The two companies know that the global automotive industry is at a cross roads, and we are at the most important time in the history of the auto industry. There is going to be a global shift and a new era in the auto industry, and BMW and Toyota will take full advantage of these opportunities.
Diess says, there will be a significant shift in worldwide mega trends that will include, growing urban areas, natural resources will become more scarce, increased government regulations and changing customer preferences. Diess said, “Toyota and the BMW Group are seizing this unique chance to lead the industry towards the future of mobility. And by doing so, we will play a central role in defining tomorrow’s vehicles. The binding agreement we signed today moves us one step closer to achieving this vision.” The newly-signed agreement will produce a number of exciting new cars and technologies.
The agreement will produce a fuel cell system
The two companies will be working on a new fuel cell system that will be necessary to produce a vehicle with zero emissions. BMW and Toyota will share their technologies and jointly develop a fundamental fuel-cell vehicle system. The agreement says they will develop a fuel cell stack and system, and also a hydrogen tank, motor and battery, with the goal of having it completed in 2020. The companies are cooperating to jointly develop codes and standards for the hydrogen infrastructure which are necessary for the popularization of fuel cell vehicles.
A new mid-size sports vehicle
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. When Akio Toyoda took over the reins of Toyota, he had a vision to transform the culture at the Japanese automaker. He wanted to see the Toyota lineup reflect his passion for auto racing and develop a number of sports cars. This will give him the technology from BMW to reach that goal. The two companies aim to combine each other’s technology and knowledge in the area of customer satisfaction and share the vision to further collaborate in the field of sports vehicle development. There may be more than one sports car that comes out of this cooperation.
Lightweight vehicle technology
As companies try to meet the new fuel mileage standards, they will need to significantly reduce the weight of their vehicles. The agreement will allow the two companies to jointly develop lightweight technologies for vehicle bodies using cutting-edge materials such as reinforced composites. This will enable the BMW and Toyota to develop a new sports-vehicle platform that will be not only fast, but also fuel efficient. The new lightweight technologies will also be applied to other BMW and Toyota vehicles.
The companies are to begin joint research with a goal to develop a lithium-air battery with energy density greatly exceeding that of current lithium-ion batteries. This next-generation of batteries will move the companies toward powertrain electrification for a number of their future vehicles. BMW is looking to advance the technology and have a number of efficient “highly-dynamic” premium vehicles. Toyota will contribute their core competencies in environmentally-friendly, hybrid and fuel-cell technology.
Both BMW and Toyota are optimistic about this new collaboration. Diess says that over the past few months, both teams have worked well together and they feel the agreement will produce positive results. The challenge for both companies will be how well they can accept each others corporate culture, and at the same time “capitalize on our similarities.” Look for good things to come out of this formal cooperation between BMW and Toyota.