BMW and Toyota Finalize Fuel-Cell Collaboration, Plan New Sports Car

By Jennifer Geiger  on January 23, 2013

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It's game-on for a jointly developed fuel-cell system from BMW and Toyota. The automakers previously announced a partnership to collaborate on alternative-fuel systems; they finalized the deal today.

The arrangement has the automakers combining their existing fuel-cell technology to create a complete fuel-cell system, including a fuel-cell stack, hydrogen tank, motor and battery, by 2020. Last year, Toyota announced plans to have a practical and production-ready hydrogen vehicle for sale by 2015, and BMW was previously in fuel-cell-system collaboration talks with GM. Toyota and BMW will also help develop a hydrogen-fuel-cell infrastructure, a difficult task necessary for the widespread adaptation of the technology.

During the long-term partnership, the automakers will also jointly develop new lightweight vehicle components for use in an all-new midsize sports-car platform. This part of the announcement reminds us of the partnership between Toyota and Scion to create the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins, but the companies are mum on details regarding the new vehicle except to say that a "feasibility study" on the project will be complete by the end of this year.

Today's finalized agreement expands on the automakers' previous plans to share diesel powertrains, with BMW providing 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter diesel engines to Toyota in Europe.

"TMC (Toyota Motor Co.) 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," Norbert Reithofer, BMW's chairman of the board of management, said in a statement. 

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Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan.  Email Jennifer