DaimlerChrysler, GM to Team Up on Engines
By JOHN PORRETTO AP Auto Writer
DETROIT (AP) - General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG, two of the
world's biggest automakers, are teaming up to develop fuel-saving hybrid
technology for a range of vehicles that will help them compete with
hybrid-vehicle leaders Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.
GM, the world's largest automaker, and its German-American rival have
signed a memorandum of understanding and intend to enter into a
definitive agreement early next year, the two companies said Monday. No
financial details were disclosed.
"Our planned cooperation will draw on the technical expertise of two of
the largest auto companies in the world," DaimlerChrysler board member
Thomas Weber said in a news release. "The result is expected to be a
series of strong hybrid propulsion systems that will serve as a solution
for our alternative powertrain needs."
Hybrids draw power from two energy sources, typically a gas or diesel
engine combined with an electric motor. Demand has grown worldwide
because of concerns about the dangers of global warming and decreasing
natural fuel supplies.
GM and Chrysler both sell a small number of "mild" hybrid pickups, but
the systems are less advanced than those used on cars sold by Toyota and
Toyota, Japan's No. 1 automaker, said in October it would double the
allocation of Prius hybrid cars for the U.S. market in 2005, part of a
companywide goal to sell 300,000 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles
worldwide by the end of next year. The announcement coincided with the
sale of the 100,000th Prius in the United States, where they went on
sale in the summer of 2000.
Honda last week began selling its third hybrid car in the United States,
a high-performance version of its popular Accord sedan.
In early August, Ford Motor Co. began producing a hybrid version of its
Escape SUV, the world's first gas-electric hybrid SUV.
GM and DaimlerChrysler have been working independently on their own
hybrid propulsion systems for their range of passenger vehicles. The
jointly built "two-mode" hybrid system will be used in GM, Chrysler and
Mercedes vehicles. Variants planned include rear- and front-wheel-drive
versions for cars, trucks and other vehicles.
In their statement, GM and DaimlerChrysler said today's typical
single-mode hybrid systems rely on much-larger electric motors than are
needed in their patent-protected two-mode system.
Tom Stephens, GM's group vice president for powertrains, called the
two-mode design "the optimal merging of full hybrid and state-of-the-art
automatic transmission technologies."
"This system will reduce fuel consumption at highway speeds much more
effectively than available single-mode systems and achieve at least a 25
percent improvement in composite fuel economy in full-size truck
applications," Stephens said.
The two-mode system will be mated to different engines, and the
respective vehicle programs will have unique performance dynamics and
Yet another $.02 worth from a proud owner of a 2001 Ranger 4x4 and a
1970 Mach 1 351C @