Hybrid Handshake

General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG agree to jointly develop a fuel-saving, 2-mode hybrid-electric powertrain system, due in three years, with investment reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars. While both companies will provide intellectual property and capital, the program is based on GM's Advanced Hybrid System 2 (AHS2). Timing for the hybrid system's rollout corresponds with

General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG agree to jointly develop a fuel-saving, 2-mode hybrid-electric powertrain system, due in three years, with investment reaching into the “hundreds of millions” of dollars.

While both companies will provide intellectual property and capital, the program is based on GM's Advanced Hybrid System 2 (AHS2). Timing for the hybrid system's rollout corresponds with GM's previously announced schedule — late 2007 — for its Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs.

DC, which had not detailed a hybrid strategy before, now says a hybrid Dodge Durango SUV will debut about the same time as the Tahoe and Yukon.

The AHS2 is forecast to provide at least 25% fuel savings for the fullsize SUVs. Mercedes-Benz says it will utilize the system for a yet-undecided vehicle “within the next several years.”

GM and DC have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding, with a definite agreement expected in early 2005. The two may form a new company for the program.

The auto makers say the 2-mode system can be configured for use in a variety of vehicles, from large pickups to compact cars, in either front- or rear-wheel-drive configurations powered either by gasoline or diesel engines.

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