Finding an alternative fuel solution to gasoline isn't going to be easy. Luckily, this week BMW and Toyota Motor Company singed a long-term strategic binding agreement to develop fuel cell systems, new architecture and components for a sports vehicle and joint research into lightweight technologies. Another area the two companies are exploring is in lithium-air batteries, which are speculated in replacing current lithium-ion batteries. The terms of the agreement were broken down into the following bullet points.
1. Fuel cell system
- The companies are convinced that fuel cell technology is one of the solutions necessary to achieve zero emissions. BMW Group and TMC 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 companies are to collaborate in jointly developing codes and standards for the hydrogen infrastructure, which are necessary for the popularization of fuel cell vehicles.
2. 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. The two companies aim to combine each other's technology and knowledge at a high level to maximize customer satisfaction. Both companies are to share the vision to further collaborate in the field of sports vehicle development.
3. Lightweight technology
The companies are to jointly develop lightweight technologies for vehicle bodies using cutting-edge materials such as reinforced composites, with an eye to utilize these technologies in cooperation on the joint development of a sports-vehicle platform as well as other BMW and TMC vehicles.
4. Post-lithium-battery technology
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.
Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG said: "TMC and the BMW Group share 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. This collaboration is an important building block in keeping both companies on a successful course in the future."
Akio Toyoda, President of TMC said: "It is just over a year since we signed our collaborative MoU, and with each day as our relationship strengthens, we feel acutely that we are making steadfast progress. Now, we are entering the phase that promises the fruit. While placing importance on what we learn from the joint development, we will work hard together in reaching our common goal of making ever-better cars."