A partnership between BMW and Toyota Motor Corp. may be in the works – one that would see both automakers collaborate on lithium-ion batteries for hybrids and EVs. Based on a report from Reuters, it seems the two automakers will tackle the dilemma of making batteries lighter and less expensive together, a move that would help spread the cost of development. An official announcement of the partnership is expected to be made at a joint press conference held this Thursday at the Tokyo Motor Show.
It was originally speculated that the two automakers were planning to share hybrid and diesel technology. That partnership would have reportedly granted BMW access to Toyota’s hybrid technology in exchange for Toyota’s use of BMW diesel engines, likely the 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit used in European-market BMW models. If that deal is still on the table, both companies stand to benefit from big savings on development costs. Toyota would especially save on production expenses, as the company could scale down diesel engine production at its factories in Japan and Poland.
Now, it seems lithium-ion batteries are the subject of talks between the two automakers. Having signed a deal with Peugeot-Citroen to co-develop hybrid systems last year, BMW now likely intends to further its battery development with help from Toyota. The new partnership will reportedly not affect the Peugeot deal. There’s currently no start date for the project, and spokespersons from both BMW and Toyota declined to comment to Reuters on the matter, saying the reports are simply “media speculation.”