June 7, 2005

DaimlerChrysler Unveils ‘Bionic’ Diesel Car

WASHINGTON (AFP) -- DaimlerChrysler unveiled a 'bionic' diesel-powered concept car that would vastly improve fuel economy while meeting strict pollution standards.

The German-US automaker also confirmed it would be investing 40 billion dollars in North America over the next five years to introduce new models and upgrade its facilities.

At a company-sponsored technology symposium in Washington, top executives of the auto giant introduced the car using a "boxfish" shape to improve aerodynamics and a diesel engine that would meet tough US emission standards in all 50 states, a spokesman said.

The Mercedes-Benz concept car would increase the fuel economy advantage of diesel, getting 70 miles (112 kilometers) to the gallon (3.8 liters), DaimlerChrysler said. In the EU driving cycle, the concept car had a fuel consumption of 4.3 liters per 100 kilometers.

Company spokesman Cole Quinnell said the company was showcasing the vehicle to show the potential of advanced diesel design but that there were no immediate plans to commercialize the car. He said the concept however would meet all US emission standards, including the stricter California laws.

"DaimlerChrysler also intends to use the great potential of this process for diesel passenger cars in future, and will initially be offering SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology in the USA when the trials have been completed," a company statement said.

It said the bionic car was "a fully functioning and roadworthy compact car with a length of 4.24 meters (14 feet) and space for four occupants plus luggage" and "among the most aerodynamically efficient in this size category."

Quinnell also said chairman Juergen Schrempp had indicated the company's plans to invest 40 billion dollars in North America to retool factories and introduce new vehicles, confirming a report in the Detroit News.

Separately, sources close to DaimlerChrysler AG and General Motors said the two firms would each invest up to 500 million dollars in a joint venture to develop a two-mode hybrid propulsion system.

The sources added that the joint venture development centre will be set up in Troy, Michigan, and that other German carmakers are interested in joining the joint venture project with GM.


On the Net:

DaimlerChrysler AG