BMW, Toyota team up again

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 24, 2013 3:09 pm ET
Updated: January 24, 2013 3:11 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive
Companies & Associations BMW AG, Toyota Motor Corp.

MUNICH, GERMANY -- Automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG have agreed to combine forces to develop fuel-cell and lightweight-vehicle technologies for fuel-cell-powered cars.

In an agreement signed Jan. 24 in Munich, the companies said part of that co-development would focus on lightweight technologies for vehicle bodies, "using cutting-edge materials such as reinforced composites."

Those technologies could be used both on a jointly developed sports car or other BMW and Toyota cars.

Munich-based BMW has been in the forefront of developing carbon-fiber composites for the auto industry, with a proprietary process that will be used on its own i-series electric cars. The BMW i3 is slated to hit the market later this year, to be followed by the i8.

Toyota, based in Toyota City, Japan, has been in the lead of using fuel cells to power an electric drivetrain. It has test vehicles already on the road, and has announced plans to sell a fuel-cell sedan in limited markets in 2015. Fuel-cell stacks use a variety of thermoplastic and thermoset materials, including the film at the heart of every cell.

"[Toyota] and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility," said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the BMW board of management, in a press release. "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."

Toyota and BMW previously signed a memorandum of understanding to work together in other lightweight-vehicle developments. The new agreement takes the process further, covering four key development areas: fuel cells, a sports car platform, lightweight materials and "post lithium-ion battery" technology.

In fuel cells, the companies will take aim not only at a fuel-cell stack, but also a tank to hold hydrogen used to power those cells. They will jointly develop the codes and standards needed in a hydrogen infrastructure to place hydrogen fuel stations where needed.

A feasibility study will be conducted this year on a joint platform for a midsize sports vehicle, which will include the lightweight technologies and composites study.

In addition, the firms agreed to combine research on a future battery system called a "lithium air battery" that promises a higher energy density than current systems. A lithium air system uses a different chemistry than the mix in a lithium-ion battery, and also uses air from the surrounding environment.

"We are entering the phase [under the agreement] that promises the fruit," said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota. "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."


Comments

BMW, Toyota team up again

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 24, 2013 3:09 pm ET
Updated: January 24, 2013 3:11 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Minnesota receives grant to help develop new bioplastics

September 17, 2014 4:08 pm ET

The University of Minnesota has received a $20 million grant to fund the development of new types of bioplastics.    More

Image

China's Polymax Elastomer launches U.S. production in Illinois

September 17, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Chinese materials maker Polymax Elastomer Technology Co. Ltd. has opened a North American production site and headquarters in Waukegan, Ill.    More

Image

PolyOne helps nonprofit get water purification to more places in need

September 17, 2014 1:59 pm ET

Resin giant PolyOne Corp. is teaming up with WaterStep, a non-profit water purification agency, to help the group assist a greater number of disaster ...    More

Image

ACI expanding in South Carolina

September 17, 2014 12:56 pm ET

Reprocessor and recycler ACI Plastics Inc. is expanding in South Carolina.    More

Image

Symphony Environmental defends biodegradable plastics in recycling stream

September 17, 2014 11:47 am ET

Symphony Environmental Technologies plc, one of the world's largest oxo-biodegradable technology companies, has responded to a leading Mexican recycle...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events