|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
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,"
Wada said. "If one of these three elements is missing, we will be unable to achieve
GM and Toyota, by virtue of their global resources, are technological leaders in the
auto industry and have more "real- world" experience with advanced vehicles than
any other automakers. 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
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, and as
breakthroughs are reached, suppliers will be able to count on the volume of production
from two of the worlds largest automakers," Pearce said.
GM and Toyota have a long history of cooperative efforts, the most recent of which was
an agreement in June 1998 to develop an improved electric-vehicle inductive charging
system based on the GM Magne-Charge technology. Since then, the goals for such a system
have been met and sample production is under way. GM and Toyota pioneered joint ventures
among automakers with the creation of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) in 1983.
The Fremont, Calif., plant makes Toyotas Corolla and Chevrolets Prizm compact
cars and Toyotas Tacoma compact pickup trucks. Toyota also markets the Chevrolet
Cavalier, built in Lordstown, Ohio, in Japan as a Toyota product. "The history of our
cooperative efforts is well-documented," Pearce said. "What we are announcing is
the latest example of fierce marketplace competitors exploring innovative ways to approach
solutions to common challenges."