DaimlerChrysler Studying Hybrid Vehicle Possibilities

October 25, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

DaimlerChrysler AG’s Mercedes-Benz division announced that it intends to have its first hybrid vehicle within five years. Plans are to sell it in the United States and Japan, but the carmaker does not think Europe's diesel focus will be replaced any time soon by hybrids, which combine a conventional car engine with a battery pack that creates electricity by capturing energy from braking.

Thomas Weber, a DaimlerChrysler board member, remarked, "The Mercedes hybrid will take less than five years and it will be a typical Mercedes-Benz premium vehicle. We will establish the car in markets such as the United States and Japan where hybrids could be advantageous, for instance in cities with frequent stop-and-go traffic and in specific other conditions."

The company could probably better supply the European market with diesel engines that offer comparable fuel savings, but it is ready to roll out hybrids in Europe as well should market conditions change. DaimlerChrysler is also considering working on hybrid technology with partners to keep the costs down.