Bloomberg reports that GM and DaimlerChrysler will jointly develop a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.
Neither company to date has stressed the development of a full gasoline hybrid vehicle. GM has plans to implement its Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) system (earlier post) to provide stop-start functionality and regenerative braking across several passenger car models, but that only provides a slight decrease in fuel consumption compared to more complete hybrid configurations. The company has also announced plans to downsize its twin-drive diesel hybrid drivetrain used in transit buses to fit some of its light duty trucks and SUVs. But it has not focused on a car that competes, for example, with the Prius or the Honda hybrids.
DaimlerChrysler, for its part, has been working on a few diesel hybrid prototypes, with varying levels of success (earlier post).
The cooperation between these companies is a good move. It also shows that the companies recognize (a) that hybrids are becoming more mainstream than either of them had acknowledged before, and (b) that they seriously lag behind Toyota and Honda in this area.
Further details on the joint venture should be coming later Monday.