G.M. and Daimler to Work Jointly on Hybrid Engine

GM claiming 25% improvement in fuel efficiency, but rival Ford is skeptical, pointing out the Escape Hybrid gets 50% overall and 80% in-city driving

Published: 14-Dec-2004

OIT, Dec. 13 - The prospects for hybrid electric vehicles were bolstered Monday when General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, two automakers long skeptical about hybrids, said they would develop them by working together.

The two companies have already been separately developing hybrids and said they had been in discussions since last year. They agreed to jointly develop a compact hybrid system that saves gas on both the highway and in the city, where today's hybrids are more efficient. It will also be designed for full-size trucks and for use with diesel and gasoline engines.

The companies said their first vehicles would not be on the road until 2007.

Eric Ridenhour, executive vice president of product development at Daimler's Chrysler division, likened current hybrid technology to videocassettes. "We like to think of this as the DVD or streaming video, the whole next way of doing it."

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