Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co (BNDT) has premiered its Denza all-electric vehicle at Auto China 2014, in Beijing. This serial production model comes from the 50:50 R&D technology joint venture established by Daimler and BYD back in 2010, the first Sino-German JV dedicated to an all-electric vehicle in China.
Combining Daimler’s engineering expertise in safety and quality with BYD’s leading battery tech, the Denza is styled to be a modern urban vehicle concept will cater to both private and fleet customers. "Daimler is constantly moving forward with emission-free mobility and with our Denza we are also on the right track in China, which is destined to become the world’s most important market for EVs," said Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for China, and chairman and CEO of Daimler Greater China.
"With the Denza, we deliver the safest, most reliable, and most convenient EV to our Chinese customers – designed, engineered, and produced in China, for China." The Denza has been designed around its lithium iron phosphate battery which is framed by a lightweight aluminium case with extrusion profiles. Designed to absorb large amounts of energy, it is located at the safest place in the car – underneath the body. The layout also ensures that all powertrain components are separated from the passenger compartment.
Additionally, the intelligent Power Flow Management System constantly monitors the energy flow between the battery and powertrain to guarantee that, in the event of an accident, the battery is disconnected automatically and, if needed, quickly discharges to levels below critical values. BDNT says it worked closely with China’s official safety certification body, CATARTC, to jointly develop an EV safety standard for China.
The Denza has been put through 18 months of intensive testing that saw various cars drive over 1.2 million kilometres across China under extreme and various weather and road. This testing program, looked at overall quality and endurance, and was complemented by additional component testing and crash test programs. BDNT crashed more than 20 cars, including high-speed, low-speed and rollover-scenarios. The Denza also became the first EV to be tested according to C-NCAP consumer ratings at C-NCAP facilities, getting the highest possible rating of five stars.
The Denza has a driving range of up to 300km and is claimed to offer the convenience of emission-free mobility for day-to-day use – in urban areas, and beyond. The battery can be charged at any household power outlet, public charging facilities or special wall boxes. With the Denza app, available for both Android and iOS phones, wall box customers can even remotely check on their charging status and vehicle location using their smartphones and, if needed, get connected right away to a dealership or customer service centre. The car can accommodate up to 5 passengers, with ample legroom, and has a 460-litre trunk volume. It is powered by an 86 kW (peak) all-electric engine that provides a maximum speed of up to 150kph and peak torque of 30kgm.
According to BDNT, the average daily driving distance in China is 50 to 80km a day, which means the customer will have to recharge the Denz twice a week; driving 100km costs less than 20 RMB (Rs. 195). Wang Chuanfu, chairman of BYD Co, said: "With the Denza, we make big steps towards sustainable development in and for China. Backed by a supportive government and the win-win alliance between BYD and Daimler, the Denza offers a convincing package to our Chinese customers, pointing the way and contributing strongly to the development of the electric vehicle market in China."
The Denza initiative is supported by 11 service centres, a 24-hour, all-year customer service hotline, and a strategic partnership with global leading technology group ABB, with whom Denza aims to establish the world’s largest charging infrastructure in China by 2020. ABB will provide a variety of flexible fast charging solutions for customers.
The first Denza will hit the market in September 2014. Starting at RMB 369,000 (about Rs 36 lakh), the new EV has exemption from standard license plate lottery in Beijing, free license plates in Shanghai and Shenzhen; and central and local subsidies totaling up to almost RMB 120,000 (about Rs 11.75 lakh) – around 30 percent off the sticker price.