GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Team on Hybrids

November 27, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

General Motors (Detroit) announced its plans to team with DaimlerChrysler (Stuttgart, Germany) and BMW (Munich, Germany) to co-develop "two-mode" gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. In the first mode, under light loads and low speed, the vehicle can operate under electric power only, engine power only or a combination of engine and electric power.

Electric power only saves fuel in heavy stop-and-go traffic. The second mode is used primarily at highway speeds to optimize fuel economy. The addition of a secondary drive system improves efficiency and reduces the need for large electric motors.

When combined with GM's "Displacement On Demand" system n technology that allows the engine to run on reduced engine cylinders n the two-mode hybrid will enable vehicles powered by a V-8 engine to deliver a 25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

"To make this new two-mode system the best system it can possibly be, and to get it into the hands of as many customers as possible, we have entered into a number of partnerships to develop it and make it more widely available. We already have DaimlerChrysler and BMW on board. The combined development and market power of this group of companies — each with its own significant and unique strengths — is moving our two-mode hybrid system into the technology-of-choice for the industry," according to Robert A. Lutz, Vice Chairman of Global Product Development with General Motors.

"In 2007 the new full-size will be available with our patented next-generation two-mode hybrid system, increasing their fuel efficiency even more, about 25 percent, with very little loss in performance. The addition of a second hybrid mode to the drive system improves efficiency, and reduces the need for large electric motors found in typical single-mode systems," stated Lutz.

GM currently has Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra single-mode hybrid pickup trucks in the marketplace that achieve greater mileage because of an engine-stop feature that turns the motor off anytime the truck is at idle, coasting or braking. GM's Saturn subsidiary will harness the same single-mode hybrid technology for its Saturn Vue Green Line SUV after the second quarter 2006.