A press release ran on the wire today authored by the Global Alliance for Hybrid Drive Development indicating that BMW, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors have created a "memorandum of understanding" and plan to work together on developing two-mode hybrid drive systems.  GM and DaimlerChrysler signed a binding agreement to thsi effect in August, and while at the moment BMW hasn't made any promises, there is the expectation that the pact will become binding later this year after some wrinkles are ironed out. 

The basic model of the drive system will be common across the three manufacturers, but each company plans to integrate the system into their own unique vehicles in such a way that, say, a BMW 3-series hybrid doesn?t share too much metal with a Chevy Cobalt hybrid ? a sign of the apocalypse for any die-hard Bimmer fan. Here?s a question for you all: is BMW slumming it, or do GM and DaimlerChrysler have something to offer the high-end company? 

To accomplish their goals, the three car companies will set up shop in Troy, Michigan. Employees of the ?GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center? will develop the overall system and its components, including electric motors, high-performance electronics, wiring, safety systems, energy management, and hybrid system control units, and will be responsible for system integration and project management.

The ?two-mode? hybrid system, the release touts, will enable two electric motors and a traditional combustion engine to work together to get ideal mileage and performance no matter what the speed of the vehicle or the conditions.  The electric motors kick in with stop-and-go city driving, and they also help out on the highway and while towing by contributing their efforts and decreasing the gas used by the combustion engine ? the best of all worlds, combining the electric-only city driving of the Ford Escape Hybrid with the performance boosters GM keeps saying we?ll see in the Chevrolet Silverado.


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