Lithium-ion battery from the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In HybridEnlarge Photo
Late last year BMW and Toyota signed a memorandum of understanding
concerning a mid-to-long-term collaboration on next-generation environment-friendly technologies, which covered everything from the joint development of electric car technologies to the sharing of engines.
Today, the two automakers have taken the next step towards solidifying the alliance by announcing that they will collaborate in the research of next-generation lithium-ion battery technology.
The research project being undertaken under the agreement is focusing on increasing the performance and capacity of lithium-ion battery cells through the use of new combinations of materials for cathodes, anodes and electrolytes.
Toyota is the expert here, having benefited from many years of experience in the field of hybrid vehicle development. In return for this expertise, BMW will supply Toyota with its highly efficient 1.6 and 2.0 liter diesel engines from 2014 onwards.
No other details have been released concerning the agreement.
One area that is considered the next major frontier in battery development is lithium-air technology
. The technology promises much lighter and smaller batteries than current lithium-ion units but with much higher power densities as well. The benefits of lithium-air batteries are numerous, including electric cars that will be able to travel many hundreds of miles on a single charge.