Mike Stevens | Jan 9, 2010

DETAILS OBTAINED from the European Patent Office reveal that BMW is developing a hybrid system that utilises two engines and an electric motor.

Described as a 'split engine' arrangement, the hybrid system would see the car driven by one of the two engines and the electric motor.

According to the patent application, the engine features two separate internal combustion engines, the second assisting the first engine and the electric motor when more power is needed.

Dug up by the UK's Autocar, the patent application does not offer specifics on engine capacity. Although mention is made of a two-cylinder layout for each engine, the application says that different sized engines could be used.

While adding power and improving fuel economy, the electric motor would also provide additional torque as the system switches from between the one-engine and two-engine configurations.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 Series.
The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 Series.

As with current BMW hybrids and as depicted in the diagram above, the hybrid's electric motor is located inside the automatic transmission.

No other details were revealed in the application, but as with all manufacturers eager to stay ahead of the competition, BMW will likely reveal all in the not-too-distant future.

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