BMW and Toyota will strengthen ties in 2013, expanding their existing shared engine arrangement to include partnering on new technologies and a new sports-car platform.
The partnership, finalised this week, follows the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding early last year that opened the door to greater collaboration between the two giants.
The bulk of the partnership will centre on developing green technologies. Low-emissions systems are a major priority for both companies, including Toyota's pioneering Prius brand, and BMW's ActiveHybrid range and the new i brand.
Development of a new hydrogen fuel-cell system will lead the project, producing a new system that will include the fuel cell stack, hydrogen battery, motor and tank. The carmakers have set a 2020 deadline for production.
Electric and hybrid vehicles will get a boost with the development of a new "post lithium-ion" technology.
The two carmakers will soon begin joint research on developing a new lithium-air battery "that will sport an energy density much greater than that of existing lithium-ion batteries".
Lightweight construction and materials will remain a focus for both, and new investment in reinforced composites will be a key part of this project - particularly with the new joint sports platform.
Suggesting a possible return of Toyota's hero Supra coupe, the carmakers have kicked off a feasability study on a new sports-car platform, which is expected to run until the end of 2013.
What does that timeline mean for fans? If a pair of new Toyota and BMW sports models come out of this project, don't expect to see them before 2017.
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