The rumor mill is hot this week with news that BMW and Toyota are about to announce a partnership to research the next generation of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. If this partnership comes to fruition it would mean an extra luxury factor for Toyota and some heightened green credentials for BMW. There’s currently a whole new wave of electric vehicles heading toward the market — like the Ford Focus Electric — and we’re all for partnerships in green design that push everyone to the next level of sustainability.
A source from the inside of the deal told Reuters that the partnership would be announced later this week, but neither company has issued a statement on the topic. Current lithium-Ion batteries installed in cars like the Prius, the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf are quite expensive and very heavy — and adding to the weight of the vehicle brings the efficiency of the battery down drastically. The source notes that the research partnership would seek to reduce weight while increasing efficiency.
Researchers around the world are searching for an electric motor teamed with a battery that can last more than the 30-50 miles – the furthest that most batteries on the market can currently travel. The Plug-In Prius, set to go on sale this Spring, for example retails for $32,000-$39,000 depending on options and has a mere 14 miles per charge when fully juiced up. We’ll be waiting to see if a partnership between BMW and Toyota develops – stay tuned!