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by Tim Beissmann

BMW and Toyota have revealed more details of the partnership that will see the two global automotive giants collaborate on a pair of new sports cars and technology for a range of next-generation hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles.

Having signed a memorandum of understanding in July, BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) have now signed binding agreements aimed at a long-term collaboration between the two companies.

The first task for the Euro-Japanese partnership is the development of a feasibility study defining a joint platform concept for a mid-size sports car, which is scheduled to be completed before the end of this year.

Toyota’s version will sit above the 86 coupe in its line-up, potentially resurrecting the Supra badge, although there is less clarity about the positioning of BMW’s version. The companies have revealed little about the sports cars other than that they will “combine each other’s technology at a high level to maximise customer satisfaction”.

BMW and Toyota’s efforts on hydrogen technology will extend to the development and construction of a fuel cell stack and system, as well as a hydrogen tank, electric motor and battery, with the duo targeting completion by 2020.

The partnership will also focus on the development of lightweight components such as reinforced composites for use in vehicles bodies, as well as a research program into the development of lithium-air batteries, which will have energy density greatly exceeding that of current lithium-ion batteries.

BMW Group chairman Norbert Reithofer described the collaboration as an “important building block in keeping both companies on a successful course in the future”.

“TMC and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility,” Reithofer said.

“In light of the technological changes ahead, the entire automotive industry faces tremendous challenges, which we also regard as an opportunity.”

TMC president Akio Toyoda said the two companies were committed to working hard together to produce even better cars in the future.

“It is just over a year since we signed our collaborative MoU, and with each day as our relationship strengthens, we feel acutely that we are making steadfast progress,” Toyoda said.

“Now, we are entering the phase that promises the fruit.”