Yesterday, we reported that BMW and Toyota were debating semantics before wrapping up their talks and signing some pieces of paper with one another. Today, we can report on what exactly they were talking about.
Most of their contractual agreements center around future technologies related to lightweight materials and batteries. Of note, BMW and Toyota will collaborate on hydrogen fuel cells, the stack used to convert hydrogen into electricity, and the tank used to hold the hydrogen. Toyota has developed much of this sort of technology by itself already, but BMW looks to get in on the game by 2020.
Additionally, BMW and Toyota have confirmed a new midsize sports vehicle will be in the works by the end of 2013. While popular thought has led us to believe there would be a production version of the Lexus LF-LC concept car as a new Lexus SC coupe, with a subsequent Toyota Supra to follow, we’re now leaning towards the notion that some sort of super sports car from Toyota could be shared with BMW. But would it be front-engine, or could it possibly work into a mid-engine layout like the legendary BMW M1 of the 1970s? We’ll have to wait and see.
Further, the companies will share intelligence on lightweight technologies like carbon fiber and share research on lithium-air batteries, which are lighter and more efficient on an energy-per-density ratio. That could help make longer-distance electric cars a lot more affordable.
BMW and Toyota originally began their partnership at the end of 2011 when BMW started supplying diesel engines to Toyota for the European market. Events since them have only brought their resources together as each company searches for solutions to impending emissions and fuel economy regulations coming up in the very near future.