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KUALALUMPUR:Proton Holdings Bhd is scheduled to sign an asset and technology agreement with Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) today, a move likely to pave the way for future Proton cars to be fitted with Petronas-developed engines.
Market talk has it that the deal may include the purchase of intellectual property rights to the engine.
This would mean giving DRB-Hicom Bhd, which owns Proton, full ownership of the engines.
DRB-Hicom bought a 42.7 per cent stake It subsequently took the national carmaker private.
There is talk that the models to be fitted with the Petronas-developed engines are the forthcoming Preve hatchback, Exora facelift and Perdana replacement model.
The engine in question could be the powerful E01, developed by Petronas engineers and its development partners.
The E01 was a result of Petronas' involvement in Formula 1 when it became, in 1995, the main sponsor of the Sauber Petronas Team.
The collaboration provided Petronas with the opportunity to engage in value-added automotive engineering technology research and development.
One of the immediate fruits of the collaboration was the development of the E01 in 1998.
The compact design of the E01 allows it to be fitted into various vehicle platforms, with customised intake and exhaust manifolds, to match vehicle requirement.
Back in 2006, Proton signed a memorandum of intent (MoI) with Petronas to develop larger-capacity engines and an environmentally-friendly alternative fuel system.
The MoI involved Proton and Petronas working together to explore the development of Petronas engines like the E01 for mass production and use in Proton cars.
Proton had planned to use the E01 for its 1.8 to 2.2 litre vehicle range but the plan did not go through.