Peter Anderson | Jul 12, 2012

Barely a year ago, BMW and PSA Peugeot Citroen created the BMW Peugeot Citroen Electrification (BPCE) joint venture.

The project would see the pair combine forces to develop, produce and purchase hybrid and electric powertrain components.

BMW and PSA already share technology in petrol engines, a long-standing arrangement that that has seen the shared 1.6 litre engine used across a number of models..

Now BMW wants BPCE all to itself. BMW spokewoman for Business and Finance, Micaela Sandstede, told Bloomberg that the German carmaker is talking to PSA about taking over the operation.

"Whether that means the joint venture’s employees move to BMW is undecided," Sandstede said. "We are still in discussions with PSA over the dismantling of the joint venture."

France's La Tribune has gone further, saying that BMW will buy Peugeot out of the deal.

BPCE is composed of an R&D centre in Munich and a factory in Mulhouse, France. The venture employs 250 people and the plan was to produce 10,000 electrically-powered cars from 2015.

On the face of it, the change in direction appears sudden. As recently as March, BMW was still promoting the project.

"Our joint venture with PSA Peugeot Citroën is right on track. Together with our partner, we are developing components in the field of electrification and hybridisation," Norbert Reithofer told a shareholder's press conference at the time.

BMW's move comes after PSA said it was looking into a partnership with PSA shareholder General Motors.

BMW has also announced a technology-sharing tie-up with Toyota. Both GM and Toyota have solid investments in electric car technology.

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