BMW and Toyota to collaborate on sports car, fuel cells, and more

BMW i8BMW and Toyota are teaming up to develop new models; each company is relying on the other’s expertise to expand its product portfolio. The German and Japanese automotive giants signed a memorandum of understanding Friday that will outline the new partnership.

The memorandum highlights four areas of cooperation: joint development of a hydrogen fuel cell system, the architecture for a new lightweight sports car, collaboration on electric powertrains, and development of lightweight technologies.

“Toyota is strong in environment-friendly hybrids and fuel cells… I believe BMW’s strength is developing sports cars,” Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said in a statement. “I get so excited thinking about the cars that will result from this relationship.”

BMW’s leaders were also enthusiastic. “Both companies, Toyota and the BMW Group, aspire to be the best at everything they do,” chairman of the board Dr. Norbert Reithofer said in a statement. “I look forward to the continued cooperation between our two companies.”

Toyota has been down this road before. The company codeveloped its latest sports car, the GT86/Scion FR-S, with Subaru. Toyoda has been trying to get his company to build more interesting cars, and seeking help from outside sources is a quick way to do that.Scion FR-S front-three quarter view

Other than the occasional Lexus, Toyota has been out of the performance game for some time, and going from designing Camrys to designing sports cars is a big leap. Toyoda said he was particularly interested in working with BMW because its cars are the fastest around Germany’s Nürburgring race track, and that he is always getting passed by them.

No details of the proposed sports car were given, but a car that tops the GT86/FR-S in price and performance seems logical, and would make a good replacement for the long-departed Supra.

Meanwhile, BMW is working to get its “Project i” off the ground. The company is trying to develop an eco-friendly automotive architecture, which will debut as the i3 city car and i8 sports car. Both cars consist lightweight carbon fiber safety cages on aluminum frames, and have plug-in hybrid powertrains.

BMW might also use Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive in future models. The company already makes hybrids, but Toyota’s technology might improve their performance.

Hydrogen fuel cell development has been out of the public eye since EVs and plug-in hybrids hit the market, but the fact that BMW and Toyota included fuel cells in their deal shows foresight. Hydrogen fuel cells are easier to package than batteries, and don’t take hours to recharge. A hydrogen infrastructure needs to be developed, but that isn’t impossible: the network of EV charging stations sprouting up across America didn’t exist a few years ago.

This is not the first time that BMW and Toyota have collaborated. In 2011, BMW agreed to supply Toyota with 1.6- and 2.0-liter turbodiesel engines for its European models, beginning in 2014. In a separate agreement, the two companies also discussed collaborating on lithium-ion battery development.

Product Review

With the Z7, Nikon gives DSLR holdouts the mirrorless wonder they've waited for

Nikon’s long awaited full-frame mirrorless cameras are here, and the Z7 is the new flagship model. But does it stand up to the company's DSLR pedigree, and, more importantly, does it have what it takes to compete with the likes of Sony?
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Cars

Thinking of driving for Uber? These cars are safe, comfy, and fuel-efficient

Uber is a viable means for making money on the side, but you won't earn much if all of your profits are going direct toward fuel and maintenance. Thankfully, these five cars are a perfect fit for those looking to shuttle passengers from…
Mobile

The new iPad Pro is here, and it adds the best of the iPhone to the tablet

Apple has announced a new addition to its iPad range for 2018. It's called the iPad Pro, and it has a striking new design. Is this the year where you'll finally be able to ditch your laptop for an iPad?
Cars

Honda HR-V vs. Honda CR-V: The differences explained

The Honda HR-V and CR-V may overlap in some regard, but they're not the same vehicle. In this comparison, we highlight the design, technology, performance, and fuel economy unique to each ride.
Cars

This hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Silverado looks like it’s straight out of Halo

General Motors' defense division has released video footage of a rugged, Halo-like truck called Silverado ZH2. The pickup is powered by the next evolution of GM's hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain.
Mobile

Google Maps tests feature that will help drivers avoid crashes, speed traps

Google Maps is testing a feature that lets drivers report crashes and speed traps so the app can plan efficient routes for others in the area, or warn of upcoming hazards. Waze, which Google owns, already offers such a feature.
Cars

Tesla appoints Robyn Denholm as chair, Elon Musk steps down

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk agreed to step down from his role as chairman as part of a settlement deal with the SEC. Tesla has named a 55-year-old Australian businesswoman named Robyn Denholm as his successor.
Cars

Ares turns the Tesla Model S into a two-door roadster with Italian flair

Italian coachbuilder Ares has done what Tesla won't. It's taking a Model S, chopping off the roof, and sending the rear doors back to the parts bin to create a roadster that's ready for the French Riviera.
Cars

Ford buys scooter-sharing service Spin as it looks to expand beyond cars

Ford has acquired San Francisco-based scooter-sharing company Spin. The Blue Oval believes mobility services like scooter sharing can complement its existing car business going forward.
Cars

Bosch, Daimler team up to deploy autonomous Mercedes-Benz S-Classes in San Jose

In 1986, when Bosch and Daimler joined an autonomous car research project, the technology seemed overly futuristic. Now, the partners are aiming to make a production self-driving car by the early 2020s.
Cars

Ambitious but not rubbish: The best 'Top Gear' episodes

Since its relaunch in 2002, 'Top Gear' has become required viewing for any serious gearhead. The great moments from this show may seem too numerous to count, but we've managed to pick some of the highlights from the first 25 seasons.
Cars

Camaro vs. Mustang: Differences and similarities between two premier pony cars

The Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang are two of America's favorite sports cars. In this comparison piece, we highlight the main differences between the two machines when it comes to their design and performance, among other factors.
Cars

Roborace wants human drivers and machines to work together

Roborace believes the future of racing is autonomous, but it's keeping human drivers in the picture for now. For its first race season, Roborace will use a car called DevBot 2.0 that can be driven by humans or machines.