The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën have entered a new phase of their collaboration, by signing an agreement to set up a 50-50 equity joint venture named BMW Peugeot Citroën Electrification. The agreement was signed on Feb. 1 by Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroën. In October, the two companies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to expand their existing cooperation to hybrid systems. BMW Peugeot Citroën Electrification will focus on developing and producing hybrid components, including battery packs, electric machines, generators, power electronics, and chargers, initially for use in both OEMs' vehicles. It will also develop control software for hybrid systems. One aim of the joint venture is to create an open European platform on those technologies that will help the European industry to structure itself in the field of hybrizidation. Other goals include integrating the two companies' suppliers by outsourcing development work and selling hybrid components to other companies outside the group. Pending approval by European authorities, the joint venture is expected to launch operations in 2Q11. The new hybrid components will equip both partners’ vehicles from 2014 onwards. The management and workforce will be drawn from employees of both companies. Additional external staff will also be hired.