Today Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation president, and Dr. Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management at BMW AG, signed a binding agreement that will push their advanced battery technology collaborative research agreement into its second phase. The first phase of the research collaboration began in March 2012.

The two automakers are working on the joint development of lithium-air batteries, which will replace today’s lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-air batteries will have an energy density that is greater than lithium-ion batteries and a more powerful battery means more driving range for an all-electric vehicle.

With recent research showing that a 150-mile range is ideal for electric vehicle adoption rates, any advanced battery technology that expands today’s typical range could drastically enhance the electric vehicle market.

Today’s agreement also includes three more goals:

Fuel cell system – The two automakers will work on a jointly developed fuel-cell vehicle system that will be ready for market by 2020.

Sports car – BMW and Toyota are also working together to develop a mid-sized sports car concept by the end of 2013.

Lightweight technology – The auto body of future BMW and Toyota vehicles may be made from reinforced composites and other lightweight technologies based on the research that comes out of this binding agreement.

“TMC and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility. In light of the technological changes ahead, the entire automotive industry faces tremendous challenges, which we also regard as an opportunity,” said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “This collaboration is an important building block in keeping both companies on a successful course in the future.” Source: BMW