Toyota, BMW up ‘green car’ partnership


Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG will expand their alliance on so-called eco-friendly cars, with the Japanese automaker providing its hybrid and fuel-cell technologies to the German partner in exchange for technologies that reduce vehicle weight, Toyota sources said Monday.

By sharing their technologies in the promising field, the two major carmakers aim to enhance their global competitiveness and cut development costs, the sources said, adding that they are expected to formalize and announce the accord soon.

Toyota, which plans to launch a fuel-cell car around 2015, has never offered its “green car” expertise to a rival before, but previously joined hands on hybrid technology with Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp.

BMW’s technologies will improve fuel efficiency by pursuing both strength and lower auto body weights developed through the use of carbon fibers.

Under an agreement sealed in December to collaborate on the development of next-generation green car technologies, Toyota and BMW started joint research in March on a new lithium-ion battery for electric vehicles, focusing on materials to improve battery performance.

Under the medium-to-long-term partnership, BMW will also supply 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter clean diesel engines to Toyota from 2014 for vehicles to be sold in the European market, where cars powered by such engines are predominant among green vehicles because they are seen as fuel efficient and effective in cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Over hybrid technologies, BMW set up a joint venture for hybrid car parts with French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen in October, but the tieup is likely to be subject to review after PSA formed a capital alliance with General Motors Co. in February.