When the Japanese and Germans joined forces in World War II some 70 years ago, they created a lot of hardship for mankind. Now, they have come together again but this time, for a good cause. Toyota and BMW announced that they have reached an agreement to jointly research and develop the next generation lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.
Such tie-ups are not new though. In 2010, Renault-Nissan-Daimler signed a three-way alliance to boost economies of scale and share high upfront development costs in new areas such as hybrid electric engines.
Details are scare at the moment but it is understood that engineers from both companies will look for ways to increase the performance and capacity of lithium-ion batteries through the use of new materials for cathodes, anodes and electrolytes. It would be interesting to see what these two brands come up with eventually in terms of electric and hybrid technologies.
As part of the agreement, BMW will supply Toyota with diesel engines of 1.6L and 2.0L capacity for sale in Europe starting in 2014. This shows a change of heart for Toyota, who originally wanted to continue pushing hybrids in Europe, but has realized that the market still prefers diesel-powered vehicles. Ironically, Toyota supplied BMW with 1.6L diesel powerplants for their MINI products between 2002 and 2005.