Back in June, Toyota and BMW announced a “memorandum of understanding” outlining plans for the two companies to join forces on future products and technology development. On Thursday, they signed a more formal and binding agreement that goes further into detail about the partnership, and it all sounds pretty exciting. The two announced they will work together in four main areas:
- Joint development of a fuel cell system
- “Set up a feasibility study to define a joint platform concept for a mid-size sports vehicle”
- Focus on lightweight technology – the agreement mentions reinforced composites that could be used in the aforementioned sports vehicle
- Better batteries – the companies will work to develop a lithium-air battery with a much greater energy density than today’s cells.
Despite our fervor for all things sports car, however, fuel cell research could prove to be the pact’s most important point. Both companies have built advanced fuel research vehicles, with Toyota favoring fuel cells and BMW leaning toward hydrogen-powered, internal combustion. The press release specifically lists fuel cell stacks, hydrogen tanks, motors and batteries as areas of interest. If the two can eventually bring a fuel-cell vehicle to market at an affordable price point, it would be huge news, although there’s always the problem of infrastructure to support such cars. BMW and Toyota’s new deal can’t solve everything though, right? Read the full press release below for more information.