Back in July, Toyota and BMW announced a new partnership to expand their existing cooperation on EV battery R&D. They will work on fuel cells, powertrain electrification, CFRP production, and future vehicle architecture.
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The two automakers also announced a collaboration on a sports car hybrid platform. At the 2012 Paris Motor Show, Toyota’s UK boss Jon Williams told Autoblog that their dealers want an exciting cars that bring in new consumers. “Our dealers want exciting cars that bring in new buyers. You’ll have seen with our product plans that, in the words of our president, we are rewarding customers with a smile. That is all about driving and the thrill of driving. That has come back with the GT86 and will continue.”
The company sold close to 800 GT86 units in the UK market, and the demand continues to be high. Williams also says that Toyota’s customers are used to sports cars, like the Celica, Supra and MR2.
Our own Hugo Becker explained in a previous article what we could expect from this collaboration:
The second generation of the EV era will be represented by vehicles like the i3. Optimized for their drivetrains. But there’s more to be done, and incorporating fuel cells will require new designs. So this agreement may be forging the way forward for the third generation of EV architecture.
This tells me that if you expect to see a joint EV sports car from BMW and Toyota you may have to wait awhile. However, knowing that the i8’s outer skin panels are simply injection molded plastic panels, it would be easy to do a Toyota specific version of the i8. It would have to be badged a Lexus (and finally there’d be a BMW that LexusLVR could love). But the i8 is well on its way to finalization for production so it’s hard to see Toyota wanting it without any input from their engineers.
What I do know is that both Toyota and BMW value engineering, highly. They both have a strong notion of corporate responsibility and value the driving experience (especially now that Akio Toyoda has taken the reigns of Toyota).
No other information are available at the moment, but based on development cycles and testing, a BMW-Toyota hybrid sports car is at least five years away.