French Connection: BMW Partners With Peugeot, Citroen for Hybrid Drivetrain

Having previously teamed with General Motors and DaimlerChrysler on the matter, BMW isn't exactly a stranger to partnering with other automakers when it comes to hybrid technologies. The company announced today it had signed an agreement with French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen to develop and manufacture hybrid-electric powertrains.

According to a release from BMW, the two firms are focusing on partnering on hybrid systems for front-wheel-drive vehicles -- an interesting tidbit, considering it's new ground for both automakers. BMW's current hybrid systems are engineered for rear-wheel-drive platforms, and while PSA's systems are applied on vehicles with front-wheel-drive roots (like the 3008 Hybrid4, for instance), the system's electric motors turn the rear wheels, rendering it an all-wheel-drive vehicle, not a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

The formal agreement of cooperation maintains both firms will share responsibility in design, engineering, and manufacturing of the system. We're a little surprised, however, that PSA hasn't turned to the likes of Mitsubishi for such a project. The two firms have previously shared vehicles, and both Citroen and Peugeot plan on marketing badge-engineered versions of Mitsubishi's electric i-MiEV in Europe later this year.

Although this particular project is new, BMW and PSA aren't exactly strangers. The two firms linked up in 2004 to develop the so-called Prince range of small inline-four-cylinder engines, which are used in vehicles like the Mini, Peugeot 207, and Citroen C3. Any of these models are potentially candidates for the hybrid system, as are the front-wheel-drive 1 Series variants BMW is currently considering.

Source: BMW

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