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Daimler, Geely Partner on Hybrid Powertrains

Partners see a good bet on piston engines to deliver them to an all-electric future.
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Going electric won’t be an all-or-nothing proposition for most carmakers. They see plenty of room for piston-electric hybrid powertrains for years to come.

That’s why Daimler and China’s Geely Holding are teaming up to develop and supply next-generation hybrid powertrains for at least the next 20 years.

Hybrids a “Must”

Daimler, noting varying market requirements and customer needs worldwide, says the path to an all-electric future must include hybrid systems that feature advanced and highly efficient combustion engines.

Image: Daimler

The partners intend to create a new family of piston powerplants, designed specifically for hybrid powertrains and produced in Europe and China.

The global program will be led by Mercedes-Benz Drive Systems, a new unit created in July by Daimler.

More Customers

Powertrains created by the alliance will be earmarked for Geely’s Volvo brand and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz operations worldwide.

But the partners also hope to extend their reach to other Geely brands—which include Lotus, Lynk & Co, Polestar and Proton—and Daimler’s existing partners in China: BAIC, Beiqi Foton and BYD.

By 2030, more than half the cars Mercedes builds will be plug-in hybrids or pure electric vehicles, says Markus Schaefer, Daimler’s research chief and COO at Mercedes. He reiterates that Mercedes intends to achieve a carbon-neutral lineup of passenger vehicles by 2039.

“Clean and highly efficient powertrains are integral to our core competitiveness,” agrees Geely Auto Group CEO An Conghui. He says Geely’s collaboration with Daimler “reflects the need for economies of scale and targeted research and development.”

What It Means

Other companies—notably hybrid leader Toyota—have pointed to the big role hybrids will play in the auto industry’s lengthy transition from pistons to batteries and fuel cells.

Daimler and Geely agree, and they’re wisely pooling their resources to help make that journey as smooth as possible.

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