Bmw to develop lithium-ion batteries for electric cars with Toyota

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 29, 2011

BMW AG intends to work with Toyota Motor Corp. on research into lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, reported Reuters on Tuesday citing a source familiar with the situation. During the weekend, the two companies have been reported to be in discussion for a partnership on "green" automobiles wherein BMW will provide the Japanese automaker with diesel engines in exchange for hybrid technology.

On Monday, a spokesperson for BMW told Automotive News Europe commented that they "don't comment on media speculation."

Toyota also stated that the reports were "speculation." According to media reports, the details of the partnership are anticipated to be revealed in the middle of this week. On Tuesday, Toyota publicized a plug-in Prius hybrid vehicle with high-capacity lithium-ion batteries in advance of the Tokyo Motor Show, flaunting it as the most practical green automobile in the world.

With depleting fossil fuels, rising price of crude oil and more stringent laws governing greenhouse gases, automakers around the world are forced to roll out new zero-emission vehicles that can run fully on electricity. Since the cost of acquiring an electric vehicle is twice as a conventional vehicle powered by a combustion engine, researchers are looking for a way to create lighter and cheaper lithium-ion batteries.

BMW i3 Concept previews company's first electric car

The proportions of BMW’s i3 Concept are both compact and agile which not only display its inherent agility but also the dynamic prowess of the electric drive system. Highlighting these qualities further is the use of stylistic lines on its proportions. Starting with the front, it is obvious that the design is neat and clear. The element that dominates the front is the moulded kidney grille with the background being the trademarked i blue of BMW. Due to the all-electric drive system, it has been blanked off completely.

There is also that noticeable swage line on the grille which, in fact, starts from the edge of the bonnet. Just under this same grille is an outer layer which comes in silver. This gives the sculptural front apron its needed form. The front apron also has a number of vertical and precise edges which not only act as side borders but also put emphasis on its strong road stance.

By using black on the surfaces, it helps highlight which areas that are on the front end are functional like the air inlets and the load compartment placed beneath the bonnet.

There are also a number of elements that, when viewed on the side, result in a dynamic wedge shape. This results in the i3 Concept having that sensation of moving forward even before the wheel is actually turned. A greenhouse, which has a generous size, narrows towards the rear end and when combined with the door sills that go upward towards the rear, highlights the dynamism of this vehicle.

Just above this is what’s known as the stream flow which is a dynamic stroke that starts from the roof and then goes to the C-pillar. It puts more importance to its forward-surging posture.

The long wheelbase and the flowing profile of the exterior give a clue on the surprising amount of space offered inside. By making the overhangs in the front and the rear shorter, it makes parking in what may be tight spaces that much simpler. Having the coach doors meanwhile helps add to that practicality and its opposing configuration shows a new way of getting inside with the large space available.

New i3 Concept gets that feel of lightness due to the extensive use of the black elements and glass surfaces, examples of which include the door sills and window surrounds. When combined with the exposed carbon structures, they put that needed focus on the lower weight. In addition, since there is no B-pillar, it results in a rather smooth transition of the two doors.

The overall effect is that it has a consistent and large glass surface allowing the side of the car to have that transparent appearance. Putting even more dynamism on its side are the narrow and large 19-inch wheels.

Since the wheels were made to be lean, it helps prevent it from intruding to the interior while at the same time lower the rolling resistance and drag. The benefit of this is that passengers get to experience more space. Thus aside from displaying electro-mobility, BMW i Design Team Head Benoit Jacob shared, the design of the new i3 Concept shows the potential for driving pleasure. Then there is the practical and large interior, he added.

Topics: bmw, toyota, technology

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