In attempt to meet future requirements for reduced CO2 emissions from cars, BMW and DaimlerChrysler said they are expanding their collaboration in the field of hybrid drive to develop a system for rear-wheel drive premium segment models.

The two companies said they want to have a new system in production within three years. The collaboration will allow the pair to share their extensive know-how and to achieve increased efficiency through economies of scale.

In a statement the companies said the decision to jointly develop hybrid drive components will allow them to extend their range of drive systems for rear-wheel-drive premium segment cars. Both manufacturers will benefit from the pooling of development capacity, which will allow production sooner, and from reduced costs due to higher volumes.

The components will be individually adapted by the two companies to the different characters of the two brands.

Core development work on the proposed hybrid module, which will be the ‘mild hybrid’ type, will take place in Germany, at the respective engine and drivetrain development sites.

A common project framework will ensure close integration of development teams and will harness the combined knowledge of both manufacturers. Synchronised development procedures, joint testing and joint quality assurance and development methods will assist the project.

This new collaboration between BMW and DaimlerChrysler extends existing cooperation at the hybrid development centre in Troy, Michigan, which began in 2005, and will help both companies meet demands for reduced CO2 emissions.

Last month the European Commission proposed binding limits on CO2 ouput from cars from 2012 that will be very difficult for both automakers to meet without adopting new fuel-efficient technologies quickly.

Indeed, even with the new technologies it is unlikely that BMW and DaimlerChrysler will meet the proposed targets.