The two companies are beginning research into a lithium-air battery, which will be more efficient and more powerful than the lithium-ion batteries currently used in hybrid and electric vehicles.
The two companies hope to complete research on the fuel cell vehicle system, which will include a hydrogen tank and motor, by 2020, reports Reuters.
Toyota Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, who led development on the Prius hybrid in the late 1990s, stated:
“In order for FCVs (fuel cell vehicles) to become more widely used, it needs to be cheaper. That would require a great deal of time and cost for development.”
Uchiyamada spoke at a news conference with BMW in Nagoya in central Japan. He added, “By bringing together the wisdom of two companies, we can aim to make FCVs more popular much quicker.”
The Miami Herald reports that both sides assured on Thursday that their partnership will not involve a capital alliance, though it will span a wide range of green vehicle technology. BMW AG board member Herbert Diess added that the partnership between Toyota and BMW will help both companies boost their competitiveness in new technologies.
Diess added during the news conference, “We really share the same vision.” The two companies pooling their resources will also likely help the technology develop more quickly. BMW is known for its sporty cars and strong design. Meanwhile, Toyota is known for innovation and its solid engineering.
Global automakers are often forging partnerships like the one between Toyota and BMW in order to become more competitive in a growing market.