BMW and DaimlerChrysler announced they are expanding their hybrid technology partnership, by looking into mild hybrid technology for luxury vehicles. I'm just not sure why they would want to do that.
Mild hybrid technology is what you get in GM cars like the Saturn Vue Hybrid. Capable of stopping the engine when the car is stopped, regenerative braking, and an electric motor to assist the gas engine is what makes a hybrid engine mild. Full hybrids are capable of powering the car without using gas at low to moderate speeds.
The pros of such a mild hybrid engine are:
- You get to (call it/market it as) a hybrid
- Fuel economy numbers go up (slightly)
- It's cheaper, both in research costs/ production costs
- It's cheaper to buy, since mild hybrids cost a thousand or two more than their conventional gas only counterparts, while full hybrids can cost several thousands or more.
The cons are you get what you pay for:
- Marketing-wise, you look weak against the full hybrids from Toyota/Lexus.
- A lot of the 'wow' factor is erased.
- The 'green' aspects are less, as well as the fuel savings
They are promising mild hybrids in three years, but also note that each car would be distinct to their brand.
BMW had previously announced they would be making mild hybrid cars.