Toyota will supply BMW with hybrid technology, reports say
TOKYO -- Toyota plans to supply BMW with hybrid drivetrain systems and hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the two partners deepen a green car development tie up they forged last December, media reports say.
Under the plan, Toyota would achieve greater economies of scale for its gasoline-electric hybrid systems and win a trophy customer in the form of a German luxury carmaker.
Specifics of the agreement were reported Monday by Japan's Nikkei business daily and over the weekend by Germany's Der Spiegel magazine.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda and BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer will make an announcement this week, the Nikkei reported without saying how it learned the news.
Toyota spokesman Joichi Tachikawa said the company could not comment on cooperation beyond what was announced in December and March.
In December, the companies said BMW would supply Toyota with small-displacement clean-diesel engines to use in vehicles sold in Europe starting in 2014. In return, Toyota would work with BMW to produce next-generation lithium ion batteries for hybrid vehicles.
They signed the joint battery-research agreement in March. At the time, both companies left open the door for further collaboration.
"We've announced that we will have r&d cooperation with BMW on environmental technologies," Tachikawa said. "There are many possibilities with many technologies."
Toyota is looking for ways to achieve higher volumes to bring down production costs of its hybrid system, made famous by its deployment in the Toyota Prius, the world's best selling gasoline-electric car. It has already signed similar hybrid development or supply deals with Mazda Motor Corp., Subaru and Ford Motor Co.
Under the upcoming deal, Toyota will also supply BMW with hydrogen fuel cell technologies, the Nikkei said. That would be the first time Toyota has supplied its fuel cell technology to a rival automaker, the newspaper added.
Toyota plans to start selling a new fuel cell vehicle in 2015.
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