BMW, well known for delivering the ultimate driving machine, has ventured into hybrid vehicles with some impressive offerings including the ActiveHybrid X6 which was reviewed recently on this site.  Rather than follow other hybrid powertrain variants, BMW is no focusing on developing a new hybrid setup that utilizes two engines. 

BMW's patent application for this technology has recently been filed indicating that work is probably underway.  This revolutionary hybrid setup utilizes two engines, one of which does not operate unless demand calls for the engine to swing into action.  Each engine in the hybrid setup would have 2 cylinders, combining when needed to offer four cylinder power.

The electric motor for the powertrain would reside within the transmission as in the company's other hybrid offerings.  Additionally, the patent information suggests that the 2 independent engines are combined as one complete unit.

Interpretation of the patent application below is difficult and its unclear if BMW is eyeing this hybrid setup for production.  However, the filing shown below does indicate that the company is at least researching and testing this two engine hybrid setup.

Source:  BimmerFile, Patent info Listed Below, Photo Courtesy of BimmerFile

Patent number: US2009321158 (A1)
Publication date: 2009-12-31
- international: B60K6/442; B60K6/00
- european: B60K6/48; B60K5/08; B60K6/387; B60K6/547; B60W10/08; B60W20/00
Application number: US20090552819 20090902 
Priority number(s): DE200710010343 20070303; WO2008EP01071 20080213
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Abstract of US 2009321158  (A1)
A hybrid vehicle includes an internal-combustion engine drive coupleable with a transmission by way of a first coupling device, and an electric machine. A transmission is drivable exclusively by the internal-combustion engine drive, or simultaneously by the internal-combustion engine drive and by the electric machine, or when the first coupling device is open, exclusively by the electric machine. The internal-combustion engine drive has a first internal-combustion engine unit, which can be coupled with the transmission by way of the first coupling device, and a second internal-combustion engine unit, which can be coupled with the first internal-combustion engine unit by way of a second