On Tuesday a new joint Hybrid Development Center officially opened in Troy, MI. General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, and BMW have contributed more than 500 engineers, technicians and other support staff to the facility that will work on developing the dual mode hybrid system that they are all planning to use in upcoming vehicles. More than 150 of the staff will be coming from Europe. GM has already announced plans to use the new system in the new GMT900 SUVs and also on an updated version of the Saturn Vue hybrid. They showed a prototype Chevy Tahoe at this year's SAE World Congress. Chrysler expects to hit the market first with the 2008 Dodge Durango Hybrid. So far BMW has not said what vehicles would get the new hybrid drive-train, although the new X5 seems like a likely candidate. The dual mode system allows the vehicle to operate in different ways at low speeds and higher speed, At lower speeds the system is able to operate in both full battery only, gas only or blended modes. The full battery mode is something the current Honda hybrid systems can't achieve. The system is also designed to be able to be applied to front, rear and all-wheel drive vehicles. The three companies have their own work areas in the new facility as well as colaborative areas. They will be combining technology and sharing components while trying to give each vehicle it's own character.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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