Peter Langen, senior vice president of powertrain development at BMW, agreed and said that the hybrid is not the cure-all for more fuel efficiency. He thinks hybrids are only suitable for limited vehicle concepts, which might explain why BMW doesn’t have any hybrids on the market, and has only announced a token hybrid for production, a gas-electric version of the X6 SUV.
Like BMW, Porsche believes that it must retain its brand’s high-performance characteristics, even when the company eventually delivers its first hybrids. Dr Heinz-Jacob Neusser, director of powertrain development for the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera hybrids—due to arrive in a couple years—believes that customers will happily pay for more horsepower, but hybrid technology will need to be subsidized in the market to make it attractive to car buyers.
Mercedes-Benz breaks ranks from the other German carmakers, but only slightly. Dr. Leopold Mikulic, Mercedes vice president program management and development for car engines and powertrain, prefers a modular design for Mercedes-Benz vehicles so hybrid systems can be applied to vehicles at some point in the future—just in case the German company’s calculations on hybrids prove incorrect. They announced plans for the company’s first hybrid—of the flagship S-class—next year in Europe.