Mercedes Says it Will Have Lithium Ion Battery Hybrid in 2009 (but stay tuned . . .)
On the heels of an announcement by Daimler that it will introduce a hybrid version of the S Class in the middle of 2009 which uses a lithium ion battery, come rumors – reported in the Wall Street Journal – that General Motors has similar plans.
Daimler claims that the upcoming Mercedes-Benz will be the first lithium ion hybrid marketed by an automobile manufacturer. The vehicle will first be introduced in Europe, with United States sales following in the fall of 2009.
Meantime, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that General Motors also will have a big announcement next week about lithium ion technology.
(more after the jump)
According to the Journal, GM will announce at the Geneva Auto Show “plans to use lithium ion batteries to upgrade the powertrains it offers in vehicles such as the Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura models.” The Journal reports the new GM system will be the “BAS Plus” system – standing for “belt alternator starter plus.” The Journal also reports that Hitachi Ltd., a Japanese electronics company, will be the supplier for the new lithium ion battery.
Confirmation of the Journal report, however, apparently will have to wait until GM’s official announcement next week.
Should, however, GM announce a lithium ion battery hybrid system for cars of the Malibu/Aura price class, it would be much more significant than the Daimler announcement. The S Class is a very expensive vehicle, with limited sales. Availability of a lithium ion hybrid option in a car priced in the low to medium price segment of the auto market carries much greater sales potential. It would also present a substantial level of competition to Japanese brand hybrid vehicles that retain the older nickel hydride battery technology.