April 28, 2006

GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW premiere hybrid technology

Vienna, Austria – A state-of-the-art full hybrid system is expected to go into production next year, with components co-developed by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and the BMW Group. The system represents a major automotive industry milestone with its unprecedented fully-integrated combination of electric motors with a fixed-gear transmission.

The system has an overall mechanical content and size similar to a conventional automatic transmission, but can operate in infinitely variable gear ratios or one of its four fixed-gear ratios. An electronic control module constantly optimizes the entire system to select the most efficient operation point for the power level demanded by the driver. When compared to conventional hybrid systems, this technology provides advantages in combined city and highway fuel economy, with improved dynamics and towing capability.

Existing internal combustion engines can be used with relatively minimal alteration, because the full hybrid system imposes no significant limitation on the size or type of engine. It enables the three automakers to package engines with the full hybrid transmissions more cost-effectively, and to offer the technology across a wider range of vehicles. Initial applications are suitable for rear- and four-wheel drive vehicle architectures, but the system has the flexibility to be used in front-wheel drive vehicles in the future as well.

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