When the automobile launched into the 20th century, the ripe and untapped market had every little auto builder in the United States fighting for recognition on their own terms. During the early 1900s where the American automobile industry was controlled by a broad-covering Selden patent (that threatened to once destroy the Ford Motor Company), the European automobile advanced far with engineering and design thanks to a greater sense of cooperation in the formative years of personal motorized transportation. The global automotive industry has apparently learned the lessons that corporate co-operations can bring to aligned parties.
Announcing a future collaboration in the research of lithium-ion batteries, BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation have secured a partnership that intends to work towards the next generation of electric vehicles. A technical agreement signed back in December of 2011, targets for “mid-to-long-term” ramifications for battery construction is seen for BMW and Toyota vehicles. Battery design and materials will be analyzed in order to improve several key features in future electrical power packs. The auto companies alliance’s seeks to obtain new heights in battery performance and capacity that will also minimize environmental impact.
With both parties planning to gain important data from the battery research, BMW’s upcoming release of the BMW i sub group has vehicle electrification at the forefront. Offering the BMW i3 sometime next year, the all-electric car is slated to run up to 100 miles on a single battery charge. Modified 1-Series (called the BMW ActiveE) and Mini E are part of a real-world trial of electric car technology. Some of BMW’s electric cars will also be part of the 2012 London Olympic Games, where the German vehicle maker is an official event partner.
Toyota’s involvement in electrified motoring is well-documented with their pioneering a production worthy gasoline/electric powertrain called Hybrid Synergy Drive. Highlighted on the Toyota Prius for what is 15 years in Japan and over a decade in the United States, over three million vehicles with Hybrid Synergy Drive were sold in March of 2011. What is interesting is Toyota currently uses the Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack with Hybrid Synergy Drive. Lithium-ion battery power will debut on the Prius when the plug-in hybrid version of the car arrives this year. With much of the auto industry behind lithium-ion battery power based on its better energy capacity, Toyota’s future intentions of is to phase out Nickel-Metal Hydride technology. It is unsure if the alliance with BMW will progress quickly enough to net advantages for the next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
In the past five months, the auto industry’s climate of partnership and strategic alliances has been rampant. Taking varying forms, the results of these mutual collaborations will see the emergence of several automotive advancements. General Motors has been busy constructing three unique alliances for different areas of development. A deal with Teijin for creating lower-cost, high-production carbon fiber, a vehicle development partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen, and a pending deal with BMW on possible fuel cell technology is part of General Motors’ most recent group dealings.
Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Company were gained heavy assistance in the creation of two important vehicles for their 2013 model year. With the 2013 Dodge Dart using the platform architecture of a Fiat Group product, the all-new Ford Fusion receives exterior design from the studios of premium British sports car builder Aston Martin. Apart from the striking design of the 2013 Fusion, the most surprising aspect of Ford’s mid-sized sedan was why such beautiful creativity could not be sculpted when the two were deeply aligned corporately through the mid-1990s to 2007.
Arrangements where resources can be pooled for more, better research, the end-result of the BMW/Toyota partnership for battery development should be a future of longer range, less expensive electric vehicles for drivers.
Information and photo source: BMW Group, Toyota Motor Corporation