BMW, GM dissolve fuel cell partnership

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An ATA hydrogen fuel cell demonstration model.

Small-scale example of a hydrogen fuel cell. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/Ottre/Wikipedia)

Automotive News reports that BMW has pulled out of talks with General Motors that were intended to lead to a cooperative partnership for producing fuel cell technology to power future vehicles. BMW has voiced its intention to partner with Toyota. According to BMW AG spokesman Alexander Bilgeri, GM is still in talks with BMW, but on topics other than fuel cells.

Toyota and the future of fuel cells

BMW’s expanded commitment to Toyota as a partner in fuel cell and electric vehicle components will reportedly be made official soon, said an unnamed insider close to the negotiation process. BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer and Toyota President Akio Toyoda are to meet at a press conference on June 29, although the nature of the meeting Friday have yet to be revealed and representatives of both automakers have declined comment to the automotive press.

BMW’s fuel cell partnership with Toyota would expand on a Dec. 1 agreement reached between the two automakers, notes Bloomberg. Experts believe a goal of the union would be to booster lithium-ion battery performance, as well as to explore related projects and to create new fuel-saving technologies.

“We have business relationships with many different manufacturers and regularly explore potential forms of cooperation,” said GM Europe spokesman Marc Kempe. “There is nothing to announce with regards to BMW.”

Research partnerships for better automotive science

Partnerships like the BMW-GM or BMW-Toyota fuel cell research team are commonplace in the automotive industry. Manufacturers are concerned with lowering development expenses in order to meet emissions guidelines, which have become tougher in recent years. BMW works with PSA Peugeot Citroen on engines for the Mini line of vehicles with this firmly in mind. Both companies are also cooperating in the production of hybrid vehicle components. In addition, such partnerships afford automakers the chance to pool their technological know-how in order to push the boundaries of what is possible in an automobile.

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Making it hydrogen

The previous agreement between BMW and GM led to a number of new discoveries regarding hydrogen fuel production. General Motors has reportedly put in over 2 million miles of fuel cell vehicular field tests, and a fleet of 16 hydrogen fuel cell cars are currently being used on military bases in Hawaii. GM will reportedly share its findings in these ventures with BMW, despite the dissolved fuel cell partnership.

How a fuel cell works


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