BYD Daimler New Technology Co Ltd, the 50-50 joint venture between German automaker Daimler AG and Chinese battery and car producer BYD Co, released a new brand for its battery-electric vehicles on Friday, joining the fierce competition in China's rising new energy vehicle sector.
The first show car under the new brand DENZA, will debut at the upcoming Beijing auto show in April, said the two companies.
They also said that DENZA electric cars, due to launch in 2013, are expected to be a leader in the new energy vehicle sector in China.
"BYD and Daimler have been visionaries in the development of sustainable mobility and new technologies. We are at the forefront in China as the first company to form a joint venture for the development of a pure electric vehicle, and we're continuing our pace forward with this landmark event today," said Ulrich Walker, chairman and CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia and chairman of the Board of Shenzhen-based BDNT.
The technology joint venture was established in 2010, with an initial investment of 600 million yuan ($95 million).
"BYD provides experience in battery technology and e-drive systems, as well as bringing electric vehicles into operation on the streets of China. Coupled with Daimler's design of premium autos, know-how in electric vehicle architecture and safety, and more than 125 years of experience in automotive excellence, DENZA is on the right track to be the leader in the green vehicle market in China," said Wang Chuanfu, chairman and president of BYD and a member of the board of directors of BDNT.
With rapid economic growth, increased urbanization, open-minded consumers, and a supportive government, all the elements are in place to make China one of the countries with the highest potential for electric vehicle adoption.
China, the world's biggest automobile market, plans to become a leader in the new- energy vehicle sector in the next 10 years, with government funding of 100 billion yuan. By 2020, it aims to have annual sales of 5 million new -energy vehicles.
Under the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), China intends to have an annual production capacity of 1 million new-energy vehicles, with pure-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounting for 50 percent.
SAIC Motor Corp, China's biggest automaker by revenue, also entered the new electric vehicle research and development sector with its US partner General Motors Co.
The two sides made an equal investment in a strategic project last September to develop a new production platform, for electric vehicles in China.
The vehicles are expected to be sold first in China under the Shanghai GM and SAIC brands. The two companies will also use the architecture to build electric vehicles worldwide.
German automaker Volkswagen AG also said that it plans local production of electric vehicles in China starting in 2014, though it hasn't disclosed further details.
And Swedish luxury car brand Volvo AB told China Daily earlier that it is considering mass-producting of its electric C30 cars in China, with the timetable depending on government policies and infrastructure construction for electric vehicles.