BY Ariel SchwartzTue Apr 6, 2010
Sign number one that automakers are serious about making the transition to hybrid and electric vehicles: They're teaming up to share technology. Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are expected to announce a global partnership tomorrow that will allow the companies to share technology and development costs for small cars, hybrids, and EVs. So why are they sharing such precious information?
Bloomberg explains that the automakers are crunched for cash and racing to reach emissions standards--like the newly implemented greenhouse gas emissions standards in the U.S. and the strict E.U. rules. In an interview with Bloomberg, one automotive analyst went so far as to say that the alliance is actually being forced by the E.U. standards. Because without selling large amounts of small cars (or EVs), carmakers can't possibly reach CO2 targets.
In practical terms, the alliance means that Daimler and Renault will share technology for gasoline, diesel, fuel cell, hybrid, and electric engines, as well as development costs for all vehicles. Eventually, Mercedes-Benz (a division of Daimler) could supply transmissions and engines to Nissan's Infiniti brand, and the Renault Twingo and Daimler Smart car may share components. On the consumer side of things, the alliance could bring lower cost efficient vehicles to the mainstream--that is, of course, if Renault and Daimler work faster together than they do separately.