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by Tim Beissmann

BMW has ended talks with US automotive giant General Motors over a collaboration on hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles, paving the way for the German luxury car maker to strengthen its partnership with Toyota.

Late last year BMW confirmed it was exploring the potential of a partnership with GM to co-develop next-generation powertrain technologies, but confirmed with Bloomberg earlier this week those conversations had come to an end.

“We are still talking to GM, but no longer on the topic of fuel cells,” BMW spokesman Alexander Bilgeri said.

The news follows the announcement of a joint press conference between BMW and Toyota tomorrow, in which the two manufacturers are set to confirm an expansion of their current alliance to include fuel cell technologies.

Under the current arrangement, BMW will share its 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel engines with Toyota to fill a gaping hole in its passenger car line-up, particularly in Europe where diesel cars are especially popular.

In return, BMW will gain access to Toyota’s renowned hybrid technology to improve the efficiency of its future vehicles.

Toyota Australia told CarAdvice in December it would introduce diesel-powered versions of the Corolla and Camry if they were made available to our market.

Toyota has confirmed it will launch a hydrogen fuel cell-powered passenger car by 2015 and expects production to increase into the tens of thousands in the next decade.

Last decade, BMW invested heavily in its Hydrogen 7 concept, which featured a hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine. BMW abandoned the technology in 2009, shifting its focus to hydrogen fuel cell powertrains.




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