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BMW, Mercedes plan rear-drive hybrids

Date: 02 March 2007   |   Author: Tristan Young

BMW and Mercedes have joined forces to develop a hybrid system for use in rear-wheel drive vehicles, which could go on sale before the end of the decade.

The German duo will collaborate on developing a mild hybrid system. Mild hybrids use electric motors to boost an engine's power and reduce fuel consumption, rather than being capable of driving the vehicle only on electric power.

Mild hybrid systems also incorporate stop-start engine technology to further reduce fuel consumption when a vehicle is stopped.

A BMW spokesman said: "This collaboration will allow us to broaden our technological base in the area of future hybrid drive systems for the premium class and will allow the two companies to pool their innovative resources. The distinct identities of the different brands will not be affected, since the relevant technologies will be tailored to fit the specific character of the different vehicles."

Neither company revealed which vehicles the system would be fitted to.