After investing a few hundred million dollars into alternative powertrain research, China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) says that it's finally ready to produce its first hybrid car. Nothing too fancy, just a mild hybrid with an electric motor that isn't capable of powering the vehicle without the assistance of the gas-powered engine. The battery pack, at least, is a suitably high-tech lithium ion unit that will be supplied by Johnson Controls, which has a joint venture with battery-maker SAFT to produce automotive packs. SAIC expects a fuel savings of about 20%. The platform for SAIC's first hybrid will be the old Rover 75, which was renamed the Roewe 750 after being bought out by its Chinese owners. Assuming all goes to plan with this first hybrid step, SAIC plans to branch further into the alternative propulsion world with an all-electric model.

[Source: Automotive News – subs. req'd]

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