MUNICH – BMW AG is planning to cooperate with Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. on research into lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Tuesday.
It was reported over the weekend that the two were in talks for a partnership on 'green' vehicles, with BMW set to provide the Japanese firm with diesel engines in return for hybrid technology.
On Monday, a BMW spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe: ''We don't comment on media speculation.'' Toyota also said the reports were "speculation."
The two companies are expected to announce the cooperation at a joint press conference at 08:00 CET on Thursday in Tokyo, the source said.
On Tuesday, Toyota unveiled a plug-in Prius hybrid car with high-capacity lithium-ion batteries ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show, touting it as the world's most practical green car.
Stricter laws governing greenhouse gases, depleting fossil fuels and the rising price of crude oil are pushing carmakers across the world to roll out new zero-emission cars that can run entirely on electricity.
Since an electric car often costs twice as much to buy as a conventional car powered by a combustion engine, researchers are searching for a way to make the lithium-ion batteries lighter and less expensive.
Sources: Reuters and ANE