In 2011, Toyota and BMW signed a technology partnership that has the two companies sharing drivetrains and developing a new hybrid sports car together. A hydrogen-powered BMW i5 using the fuel cell technology from the Toyota Mirai could be another benefit of the German-Japanese tech alliance, reports AutoCar.
While BMW has managed to make major inroads with the i3 and i8 plug-in vehicles, European automakers as a whole are playing catch up to Toyota when it comes to hydrogen fuel cell technology. BMW plans to deploy a revised version of Toyota’s fuel cell technology in an i5 sedan, which would help expand the i lineup with the inclusion of a more “practical” vehicle. IT was previously thought that the i5 would be positioned as a Tesla Model S competitor, but BMW may have shifted gears with the sudden resurgence in interest in hydrogen cars.
It’s curious though that after investing so much into plug-in vehicles that BMW feels the need to pursue hydrogen fuel cells as well. The European Union has pulled back support of hydrogen vehicles, and both of BMW’s plug-in cars have met with good reviews, if not exceptional sales. It seems this German company is casting a wider net than most when it comes to embracing new technology. BMW has simultaneously entered talks with Tesla Motors while pursuing hydrogen and hybrid technical expertise from Toyota.
Now imagine getting all three groups together in one room. It might actually come to BMW to play peacemaker between Toyota and Tesla, whose engineers notoriously butted heads over the RAV4 EV project. Toyota says nobody wants EVs, and Elon Musk called hydrogen fuel cells bullshit; meanwhile BMW is just like “lol let’s build ‘em both brah.”
Leave it to ze Germans to be the most inclusive, eh?