25 Jan 2013

BMW and Toyota to make a sports car together

BMW and Toyota have announced a deeper collaboration together to produce, amongst other things, a sportscar together.

The two companies have agreed to set up a feasibility study to create a joint platform for a sportscar similar in size to the Z4 that will be completed towards the end of 2013.  BMW and Toyota will utilise each other's technology to create what they hope will be the ultimate machine in it's sector.

This is a little strange given we already have the GT86 and Z4.  The GT86 doesn't really need improving on but the Z4 is flawed, being more of a convertible GT car than an outright sportscar.

Other areas for joint development include a fuel cell system based on hydrogen technology, lightweight technology and 'post-lithium' battery technology.  The sums involved in developing these areas are gigantic so it's heartening to see BMW and Toyota putting their resources together.

Existing EVs (Electric Vehicles) are limited by their range so a battery that holds a higher charge, and can be charged quicker, is the ultimate goal.  Likewise, hydrogen powered internal combustion engines will feature in future automobiles, so to get ahead of the competition by creating a fully fledged power train and tank is sensible.

The lightweight materials area is interesting.  They talk of using reinforced composites, particularly on the sportscar.  The main hindrance to the wider use of composites is the bespoke nature of it's manufacturing, so to develop mass production techniques will hopefully see it's wider use in road vehicles in the future.

All interesting stuff.  We look forward to seeing the fruits of their combined labours.

BMW and Toyota first signed an agreement to collaborate on diesel engines back in December 2011.