Follow the Leader: DaimlerChrysler to pursue hybrid power

DaimlerChrysler is taking some of its eggs out of the diesel BLUETEC basket and placing them on the hybrid bandwagon, according to chairman Dieter Zetsche. The automotive giant had been banking on the success of its clean diesel technology to win over the green crowd, but DCX says the market demands hybrids. And so hybrids they shall make.

At first Mercedes will offer "mild hybrids", essentially an overgrown starter motor that will supplement the gasoline (or diesel) engine to add extra power while improving fuel economy and reducing emissions. With a mild hybrid, DCX figures it can get 70 percent of the effect with 30 percent of the effort, but will eventually produce full hybrid powerplants. DaimlerChrysler plans on collaborating on its hybrid development with rivals BMW, not unlike the sharing of technology over BLUETEC, all in an effort to catch up with their mutual rival Toyota, which has harnessed hybrid power on its way to the top.

In the meantime, Mercedes plans on rolling out other tree-hugging technologies in its vehicles, including a stop/start system like that offered by BMW and PSA, and an alternator that disengages from the engine when accelerating.

[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]

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