GM, Toyota team up

General Motors (GM) Toyota have announced a five-year collaboration to speed development of electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell technologies.

The companies have identified more than a dozen advanced vehicle and system projects that will be researched together.

The agreement calls for development of:

  A common set of electric traction and control components for future battery electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.

  Batteries and battery test procedures, vehicle safety requirements, and continued work on improved inductive charging systems for battery electric vehicles.

  Powertrain and control systems for next generation hybrid electric vehicles.

  Future systems design, fuel selection and processing to support production of fuel cell powered vehicles.

The companies stressed that while the future for advanced technology vehicles is unclear, whatever technology is adopted must be widely available.

“If we are to elevate vehicles with advanced environmental technology into practical use, and have these vehicles widely accepted by the public, we will have to create a trinity comprising innovative technologies, reduced costs and an appropriate infrastructure,” Toyota Executive Vice President Akihiro Wada said. “If one of these three elements is missing, we will be unable to achieve satisfactory results.”

GM was the first to market with its EV1 electric car in 1996. Toyota brought the first hybrid to market with its Prius gasoline-electric compact car in 1997. It will go on sale in the United States and Europe next year. It is currently marketed in Japan.

GM Vice Chairman Harry Pearce and Wada said GM and Toyota are on similar paths in many areas of research, so combining efforts makes sense.

“Pooling our efforts should result in commercially viable advanced technologies faster and at a lower cost to our customers,” Pearce said.

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