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      01-22-2013, 07:16 PM   #1
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Post BMW Nears Deal to License Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech for 2015 Prototype Vehicle

BMW Nears Deal to License Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech for 2015 Prototype Vehicle
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(Reuters) -- Toyota Motor Corp. is nearing a final agreement to license its fuel-cell vehicle technology to BMW AG, the Nikkei reported today.

Under the agreement, to be made official as early as Thursday, Toyota will provide the world's largest premium carmaker with drivetrain and hydrogen storage technology, the business daily said.

BMW will use the technology to build a prototype vehicle by 2015, with plans for a market release around 2020, the Nikkei said.

The two automakers have been expanding their r&d ties over the last year. In December 2011, they said they will work together on green car technologies, including the joint development of lithium-ion batteries. BMW would also supply diesel engines to Toyota in Europe as part of the tie-up, the companies said at the time.

Then last June, Toyota and BMW expanded the relationship by signing a memorandum to cooperate on developing fuel cells to power and designing components for a future sports car as the automakers expand on their joint work to produce next-generation car batteries.

Fuel cells convert a fuel, typically hydrogen, into electricity, which can then be used to power cars and trucks. Fuel-cell vehicles can run five times longer than battery electric cars on a single power-up, and it takes just minutes to fill the tank with hydrogen, compared with 8 hours or so to recharge a battery.

Rivals like Daimler AG, General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. are all competing to develop fuel-cell vehicles, the daily said.