Chrysler, GM, BMW announce new hybrid system

DaimlerChrysler, BMW, and GM today announced a new full hybrid system that “represents a major automotive industry milestone due to the unprecedented fully integrated combination of electric motors with a fixed-gear transmission.” The technology is said to be ready for production beginning next year. As a result of its low- and high-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes, the system is commonly referred to as the 2-mode hybrid. However, the sophisticated fuel-saving system also incorporates four fixed gear ratios for high efficiency and power-handling capabilities in a broad variety of vehicle applications. During the two ECVT modes and four fixed gear operations, the hybrid system can use the electric motors for boosting and regenerative braking.

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