Last December, Toyota and BMW announced “a long-term technological partnership.” Ostensibly, it was about developing batteries together, and about BMW supplying diesel engines, in that order. Four months later, the priorities seem to have changed a little.
In a joint press release, Toyota and BMW announce that they just now have signed an agreement on collaborative research for lithium-ion battery cells. Research has started, and this being research, it can take a while.
The diesel engines will come earlier, and in earnest. Toyota has contracted BMW as the supplier of highly efficient 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter diesel engines, and BMW will start shipping in 2014. Toyota has realized that diesel is a big seller especially in Europe, where it holds 50 percent market share. Diesel is making inroads in India. Even in Japan, diesel cars are beginning to appeal to customers. Toyota has its hands full with hybrids and other new generation technologies and does not have the bandwidth to tinker with its own diesel engines.