In cleantech as with most sectors, partnerships and collaborations are vital to drive innovation and move forward, this is particularly true during difficult economic times. This was certainly the case in 2011 and all indications are that it will be even more of an important trend in 2012.
Asreported by Ernst & Young, key players in the electric vehicles (EV) space are collaborating to expand the accessibility and capabilities of EVs. Coulomb Technologies is allowing Dutch navigation systems firm TomTom to access their ChargePoint Network API to enable drivers to find the nearest available charging station and reserve it in advance. CODA Automotive is teaming up with Great Wall Motor Company to develop EVs, a collaboration that will involve integrating the Californian firm’s EV propulsion system with the vehicle platforms of Great Wall. In addition, Ford Motor and Toyota Motor are working jointly to develop a new hybrid drive-train system for light trucks and SUVs.
Companies in the biofuels sector are also forming a series of important alliances to help advance the field. Dow Chemical and Mitsui & Company are creating a joint venture to produce ethanol and biopolymers in Brazil. ZeaChem and US carmaker Chrysler are combining efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of cellulosic ethanol. General Electric (GE) is teaming up with Virgin Australia, Renewable Oils Corporation, Future Farm Industries CRC and Canadian biofuels firm Dynamotive Energy Systems to develop commercial biofuel for the aviation industry.