Mercedes-Benz and Geely confirm hybrid engine R&D partnership – for next-gen Volvo and Proton models? – paultan.org
Daimler AG and Geely Holding, the parent companies of Mercedes-Benz and Geely Auto respectively have confirmed their plans to collaborate on developing “highly efficient powertrain systems for next-generation hybrid vehicle applications.” Simply put, the two giants are forming a hybrid engine R&D partnership that will benefit both parties.
Already reported as early as January this year, the cooperation is set to enhance their global competitiveness while creating true economies of scale, according to Daimler. Both groups will use their global R&D networks to work together on next-gen petrol hybrid engines, which will be produced in both Europe and China. The export of the motors from China for use in other markets is also an option.
Daimler goes on to detail that the new engines will be used on future Mercedes-Benz models, as well as the wider Geely portfolio of brands, including Volvo. The specific mention of “wider Geely portfolio of brands,” of course, could mean that the new Mercedes-Geely engines may one day be installed in future Proton models.
It’s worth mentioning that the Geely-based Proton models, the X50 and X70, do feature the Chinese company’s latest powertrain systems. So when the next-gen engines are introduced in Geely’s China models, it’s entirely possible that similarly-powered Proton versions for the Malaysian market will follow suit.
For Volvo, it will mean that the premium carmaker will be sharing the same engines with Mercedes-Benz, its direct competitor. This, however, wouldn’t be a first for Volvo, having used Ford’s EcoBoost engines in its line-up for the better half of this decade, sharing powertrains with fellow premium brands Jaguar and Land Rover. Both Volvo and JLR have since introduced their own engine line-ups (Drive-E and Ingenium, respectively).
“We have witnessed strong momentum in the development of the Chinese automotive industry over the past years, and we believe China will continue to offer great potentials in terms of innovation, efficiency and economies of scale,” said Hubertus Troska, member of the board of management of Daimler AG. As China is now the world’s largest car market, that’s a pretty safe bet for Daimler.
An Conghui, president of Geely Holding stated that “this project reflects the need for economies of scale and targeted R&D investment in clean and highly efficient powertrains and hybrid drive systems. Together with our partner, we will jointly develop next generation of advanced technologies in order to remain at the top in the industry in times of wide-ranging change.”
Though not confirmed, it is reported that the new engine line-up will eventually replace Mercedes’ current Renault-sourced 1.33 litre turbo four motor, which is fitted here in Malaysia on the A200 and GLB200 models. It remains to be seen if Geely/Volvo can manage to convince Mercedes-Benz to finally adopt three-cylinder engines for its lower-end models, something the German brand has vehemently avoided so far.
It’s also possible that the Mercedes-Geely engine line-up will include larger 2.0 litre four-cylinder versions, potentially with a 500 cc-a cylinder modular design (1.5 litre three-pot and 2.0 litre four pot) that has already been put to good use by both Volvo and BMW. Mercedes too has been using a similar strategy further up the range, with its latest 3.0 litre inline-six engines being heavily related to its 2.0 litre inline-four units.
For the record, Daimler AG and Geely working together isn’t a brand new thing. They already have a working joint venture to develop the smart brand globally, and both are also collaborating on a premium ride-hailing service in China. Geely’s owner, Li Shufu, also holds a near 10% stake in Daimler, reportedly worth 7.3 billion euros in early 2018.
So, what do you think of this development, especially with our own Proton possibly benefiting from this in the long run? Do discuss in the comments section below.
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