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Beijing show: Daimler’s Denza EV ready to roll

Showroom-ready: Daimler AG has worked to ensure the Denza EV will be world-class when it reaches Chinese showrooms in September.

Production Denza EV sedan keeps faith with Australian designer’s initial concept


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28 Apr 2014

DAIMLER AG’s highly anticipated new electric vehicle for China, the Denza, which was designed in the early stages by Australian Peter Arcadipane, made its world premiere in production guise at the Beijing motor show last week ahead of its showroom release in September.

The first model to spring from a 50:50 joint venture forged in 2010 between Daimler and one of China’s biggest car-makers, BYD, the Denza EV is billed as “the safest, most reliable and most convenient electric vehicle” to be designed, engineered and built in China, and is considered a key plank in Daimler’s strategy to improve its standing in the world’s biggest auto market.

The long-wheelbase small sedan arrives exactly two years after the concept designed by Mr Arcadipane, who as previously reported is now director of design for BAIC, emerged at the Beijing show, and is expected to spawn a family of electrified models that could eventually be exported and sold to western markets such as Australia.

There is no definitive Australian schedule, although BYD is among the companies with which Ateco Automotive has held discussions in recent years about importing vehicles here.

Daimler says its “proven production philosophy and quality control methods” have been implemented at BYD’s production facility in Shenzen, and that its vehicle development program focused heavily on safety engineering.

Electronic stability control and at least six airbags are fitted standard, and the EV has also received a maximum five-star safety rating from the Chinese NCAP crash-test authority.

“Denza is the first complete vehicle that Daimler has developed together with BYD outside of Germany and it is undoubtedly one key pillar of Daimler’s electric vehicle strategy in China,” said Daimler AG’s global research and development chief Thomas Weber.

“No compromises have been made to design and develop, in China, an all-electric car that raises the bar in its segment.

“We assure our Chinese customers the highest standards of safety, paired with maximum convenience, outstanding reliability and unique driving fun as part of a superior overall concept.” The Denza EV packs in a large 47.5kWh lithium-ion phosphate battery and an electric motor that produces 86kW of power and 290Nm of torque. The vehicle has a maximum speed of 150km/h and an excellent driving range of up to 300km.

According to Daimler, the typical Denza owner will only need to recharge the vehicle twice a week, given that the average daily driving distance in China is 50-80km a day.

Recharging can be completed in less than an hour using a fast-charge unit, or in seven hours with a special wall box developed for the vehicle.

The five-seat model is said to have a roomy cabin and a boot capacity of 460 litres. Two variants will be available from launch: the entry ‘Lifestyle’ version with 18-inch alloy wheels, leather trim, an eight-inch multimedia touchscreen, tyre-pressure monitoring system and six airbags and an ‘Executive’ version that adds a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, Xenon headlights (part of an adaptive front lighting system), satellite navigation, reversing camera, and another two airbags.

The Denza EV will be priced in China from RMB 369,000 ($A63,500) but qualifies for subsidies of up to around RMB 120,000 ($A20,650) as well as exemption from the licence plate lottery in Beijing and free licence plates in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

“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 electric vehicles,” said Daimler AG board member Hubertus Troska, who is also chairman and CEO of Daimler Greater China.

“With Denza we deliver the safest, most reliable, and most convenient electric vehicle to our Chinese customers – designed, engineered, and produced in China, for China, once again proving our full commitment to the country.”

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