Tue, Dec 13, 2011 - Page 11 News List

BMW, GM discuss developing fuel-cell vehicle technology


Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the world’s largest maker of luxury cars, said it was in talks with General Motors Co (GM) about cooperating on fuel-cell technology.

“We are exploring various topics related to future technologies such as fuel cells,” Mathias Schmidt, a spokesman for the Munich-based carmaker, said yesterday by telephone.

He declined to comment on the timing of an agreement.

Fuel cells generate electricity in the chemical reaction that combines hydrogen and oxygen to create water. BMW has largely ignored the technology in the past, focusing research on burning liquid hydrogen in a combustion engine. Daimler AG, the world’s third-biggest luxury-vehicle manufacturer, plans to introduce a fuel-cell-powered version of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class compact by 2014.

The talks between BMW and Detroit-based GM were reported on Saturday by Germany’s WirtschaftsWoche magazine, which said the carmakers are close to signing a deal after the Detroit Motor Show in the middle of next month.

BMW already signed a partnership agreement with Toyota of Japan earlier this month to co-develop new-generation batteries for electric and hybrid cars, allowing Toyota to expand its European lineup of diesel-powered vehicles and paving the way for BMW to team up with the biggest producer of hybrid vehicles.

BMW will supply Toyota with 1.6-liter and 2-liter engines for the Japanese company’s models in Europe starting in 2014, the automakers said in a statement on Dec. 1.

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