Hybrids at the Frankfurt Auto show
The photos with the big guys will come from the Frankfurt Auto show, but the news has been released; The BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler AG, and General Motors Corporation today signed a “memorandum of understanding” governing the formation of an alliance of equals for the joint development of hybrid drive systems.
The three global automakers have seen the numbers and demand for hybrids rise over the last five years. In order to be in control financially, you have to have the patents for the hybrid system itself. Instead of just licensing Toyota’s system, BMW, Chrysler, and General Motors are cooperating in order to pool their expertise for the accelerated and efficient development of hybrid drive systems.
Objective: Development of a two-mode hybrid drive system. The objective is to jointly develop a two-mode hybrid drive system that reduces fuel consumption while not compromising vehicle capability. While the base two-mode hybrid design will be common, each company will individually integrate the hybrid system into the design and manufacturing of vehicles in accordance with their brand-specific requirements.
The two-mode system is known as input and compound split; the input split is used for launching, while the compound split is used for cruising at highway speeds. The best part about this system is that it fits in the same space as a current transmission.
“The participation of the BMW Group has allowed us to gain another expert partner for the development of this advanced two-mode hybrid system,” says Tom Stephens, Group Vice President at GM Powertrain. “This cooperation paves the way for extensive hybrid collaboration among the three companies. We also continue to discuss additional partners for this alliance.”
“By pooling the development expertise of the three automakers – BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, and General Motors – we are making it possible for all companies to bring to market appealing vehicles with a convincing performance, comfort and environmental features for the benefit of our customers,” says Dr. Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler Board of Management member responsible for Research and Technology as well as for Development at the Mercedes Car Group.
“The creation of a shared technology platform for hybrid drives will allow us to more quickly integrate the best technologies on the market and will, therefore, exploit and strengthen the innovative potential of all participating companies,” explains Prof. Burkhard, Board of Management member for Development and Procurement at BMW AG. “Because the technologies will be adapted to the individual vehicle models, the participating brands will retain their distinctive characters.”
The joint development center is in Troy, Michigan. The new “GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center” will develop the overall modular system and the individual components: electric motors, high-performance electronics, wiring, safety systems, energy management, and hybrid system control unit’s. In addition, the Hybrid Development Center will be responsible for system integration and project management.
A key factor in ensuring optimum development is the focus on a high bandwidth architecture system that can be adapted to the needs of the various vehicle concepts and brands. The extensive sharing of components and production facilities and the collaborative relationship with suppliers will enable the alliance partners to achieve significant economies of scale and associated cost advantages, which will also benefit customers, thanks to an outstanding cost-to-performance ratio.