Daimler and BYD name new brand DenzaMon, 26 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Mercedes-Benz sources in Germany have confirmed Chinese media reports suggesting that parent company Daimler and Chinese carmaker BYD's new joint venture brand will be called Denza.
Created as a Chinese-market-only brand, Denza is planned to support a range of "affordable" electric-powered vehicles, the first of which is set to be unveiled at the Beijing motor show next month.
Based on the underpinnings of the first-generation Mercedes-Benz B-class--a car originally designed to accept batteries within its flat floor structure--the first Denza model was developed in China by a team of engineers from both Daimler and BYD Auto.
An alliance binding the two companies was made official by Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche and BYD Auto president Wang Chuanfu in a signing ceremony in March 2010.
Little is known about the new zero-emission, five-door hatchback, but Autoweek sources confirm that a team from Daimler has led the styling, body and chassis engineering, while BYD Auto provided expertise on the electric driveline system.
Prior to becoming active in the automotive field, BYD rose to prominence as the lithium-ion battery supplier for Nokia, Motorola and other mobile-phone manufacturers.
Nothing is official, but elements of the BYD E6's driveline, which uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion phosphate battery and is claimed to boast a range of up to 186 miles in mild weather conditions, are said to be used by the new car.
In the run-up to the introduction of the first Denza model, BYD says it has produced a total of 309 E6s, about 40 of which have been undergoing durability testing by the Pengcheng Electric Taxi Company in the city of Shenzhen, raking up a total of 1.8 million miles, according to an official BYD statement.
Despite announcing plans to sell the E6 in North America at a price of less than $40,000, BYD has yet to set up a sales network in the United States.
Speaking about the decision to link with BYD, Zetsche said, "We will be able to participate in the potential growth of electric mobility in China. Electric vehicles are especially well suited for urban driving. With its many metropolitan areas, China has the potential to be among the world's largest markets for zero-emission vehicles."
By Greg Kable