A joint venture between German Daimler and Chinese BYD has finally shown its first fruits, the BDNT DENZA electric vehicle, just unveiled at the 13th Beijing International Automobile Exhibition.
Perhaps better known as Auto China 2014, this auto show is becoming a big thing for the Chinese, the fastest-growing automobile market in the world. Practically every automaker has their sights set on the country to boost their profits. Considering China’s air quality problems, electric vehicles are a big deal for the country, and any automaker who can get their foot in the door first. Tesla Motors already has two Tesla Stores in the country, and may even start manufacturing there, but the current Tesla Model S is firmly in luxury-car territory, with a Chinese starting price of around $120,000.
Will other automakers open the electric vehicle market in China for the masses even before Tesla’s upcoming Tesla Model E makes it off the production line? It just might be happening, with a production-ready electric vehicle recently unveiled by BYD Daimler New Technology, Limited, (BDNT) a 50:50 research and development joint venture started in 2010.
The BDNT DENZA combines BYD’s world-class electric vehicle powertrain with Daimler’s experienced German automobile craftsmanship, resulting in a purpose-built electric vehicle. The BDNT DENZA is built around its 47.5 kWh LiFePO4 (lithium-iron phosphate) rechargeable battery pack and 86 kW electric motor for 186 miles (300 km) total range. Considering Chinese drivers average just 30 to 50 miles (50 to 80 km) per day, this is a good balance that eliminates range anxiety.
All in all, the BDNT DENZA is not just an electric vehicle concept, but fully production-ready. It’s been tested over 750,000 mi (1.2 million km) all over China, in all kinds of traffic and weather conditions. BDNT also crashed-tested over twenty vehicles in multiple scenarios, with special emphasis on battery safety, resulting in a CNCAP (China New Car Assessment Program) safety rating of five stars, the highest possible.
Image © Daimler