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BMW and Toyota Partner to Develop Fuel Cells

We could all use a little more collaboration. BMW's collaborative spirit has led the German automaker to expand its partnership with a major competitor, and the fuel efficiency-challenged automaker may be climbing its way to sustainability one blueprint swap at a time.

Expanding their business and technological partnership, BMW and Toyota are planning to collaborate to create fuel-efficient technology. The two companies are going to pool resources on fuel-cell development, according to CNET. Based on the Toyota FCV-R, the company will share its research on fuel cells powering vehicles with BMW. In return, BMW will allow Toyota to use its lightweight carbon-fiber technology, which will be used in the upcoming line of BMW i alternative power-train vehicles.

The 2013 Motor Trend auto tour will make a stop in Arizona to show off its new line at the Phoenix Convention Center from Nov. 22 through Nov. 25. If you can't afford the newest technology, you can always buy a used BMW and trade it in to help with a down payment on a new, fuel-efficient model when the time is right.

Goals for Innovation

Looking to help both manufacturers become more energy efficient, this partnership has some history. In December of 2011, both companies announced an alternative power-train and fuel-efficient vehicle partnership — with small diesel engines supplied by BMW for Toyota in Europe and next-generation lithium ion batteries supplied by Toyota for BMW.

By 2020, when the European Union tightens its carbon emission standards, BMW needs to reduce its carbon emissions by roughly one-third its current output (to 101 grams per kilometer). Thus, a rise in the number of electric and hybrid cars is necessary for such a change.


BMW is not new to making deals with competitors. Following last year’s partnership with Toyota, a similar agreement was made with General Motors.  While funding GM’s hydrogen research, BMW was allowed to access GM's findings. Currently, GM is testing 16 hydrogen-powered vehicles in Hawaii and has logged more than 2 million miles of tests with fuel-cell vehicles overall.

Of course, the future implications could be significant for all companies. GM, BMW and Toyota look poised to increase their line of fuel-efficient vehicles. It may not be long before today’s “fuel-efficient” offerings are eclipsed.

Other Ventures

Other partnerships involving BMW have not come to fruition. Last week, according to "Reuters", a wrench was thrown into plans of partnership with French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen. Unable to follow through on the joint venture, based on making hybrid car components, BMW looks to be moving away from their preferred partner. However, the dwindling finances in PSA’s situation has led them to align with GM.

However, with Toyota, BMW may have the better prospects, due to the superior financial situation present with Toyota as opposed to PSA.

Looking to the future, the partnership between BMW and Toyota looks to be promising. Already developing cutting-edge, energy-efficient vehicles, such as with the aforementioned BMW i alternative power-train vehicles, these partnerships are giving the ultimate driving machine a chance to catch up on its sustainability ultimatum.

This article was authored By Matthew Horgan. Matthew loves writing about cars and mechanics. He is a freelance writer and blogger when not working on his Subaru.

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