BMW has seen the (near) future and it includes hybrids. After working on various fuel saving technologies for decades BMW recently made the decision to invest heavily in hybrid technology. The first fruits of that labor were the X6 and 7 Series ActiveHybrids released in the last 18 months. But the real mass market products are on their way and they include hybrid MINIs.

This all means there’s more life left in the Prince family of engines. Developed by BMW and shared with PSA to spread costs, the Prince engines debuted in 2007 with the R56 MINI and remain MINI’s only engine architecture.

The hybrid system is being developed in cooperation with Getrag and Bosch and will feature a torque-split and axel split integrated into the same drivetrain. This would allow for all sorts of variations of electric and petrol power at any time.

We believe that the hybrid system is being designed to debut in the Countryman and could potentially find its way to a front wheel drive 1 Series variant. While we’re not 100% sure of this, it would make sense given the platforms longevity and the intended market. After that we’d expect it to show up any potential new Countryman variant (such as the just discussed next generation Clubman). (official press release after the break)

Official BMW Press Release

The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën intend to expand their successful cooperation by including hybrid components for front-wheel-drive vehicles.

A memorandum of understanding to this effect has been signed by Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroën.

The components are to be used in front-wheel-drive vehicles with electrified drive trains. Joint development and production of components as well as joint purchasing will leverage significant economies of scale for both partners. It will also allow them to standardise key elements for the electrification of vehicles.

“This cooperation will deliver a major contribution towards a competitive cost structure in the field of electrification. It also represents another important step on the road to sustainable mobility,” said Reithofer.

“We are pleased to broaden our long-standing cooperation based on the strong relationship that exists between our two companies,” added Philippe Varin. “Combining both partners’ expertise in hybrid technologies will clearly create competitive advantage.”

Both parties have agreed not to disclose financial details of the agreement.

The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën have been successfully cooperating on engines for several years. In February 2010, the two companies agreed to develop the next generation of their jointly designed 4-cylinder petrol engine, which will also meet EU 6 requirements. The joint engine is currently built into a number of MINI, Peugeot and Citroën brand models.