GM, DaimlerChrysler, and BMW Preview New Hybrid Technology
May 10, 2006
Three major automakers are gearing up for production of a new hybrid drivetrain next year and provided a preview of the technology in late April. The new hybrid system—developed jointly by General Motors Corporation (GM), DaimlerChrysler, and the BMW Group—combines two small electric motors into a four-speed transmission, creating a compact package that will be relatively easy to incorporate into existing models. One electric motor is designed for low-speed operation, while the other is designed for high-speed operation. They both work together in first and third gear, while each works alone in second and fourth gear. According to GM, this arrangement is particularly beneficial in demanding applications that require larger engines, such as towing, hill climbing, or carrying heavy loads. The hybrid system will initially be employed in front-engine, rear- and four-wheel-drive vehicles, but may be adapted to front-wheel-drive vehicles in the future. See the GM press release.