As well as teaming up with Renault on a wide range of business activities, Daimler has also entered into a co-operation with China’s BYD with the aim of designing, developing and producing a low cost plug-in electric car for the domestic Chinese market.
The new car, which will be marketed under its own unique brand name, is planned to go on sale in 2014 at a price one high ranking Daimler executive told Autocar ‘will change the way people perceive electric cars’.
Although still at drawing board stage, Daimler says it hopes to use lessons in the development of the new Chinese market electric car to lower the cost of other new electric cars it has under development – including plug-in versions of the future Smart Fortwo and ForFour as well as the third-generation Mercedes-Benz A-class and second-generation B-class.
Autocar sources say the areas of responsibly between Daimler and BYD have not yet been defined, although it is likely the design of the new car will hail from Mercedes-Benz’s new Shanghai based styling studio, with engineering set to be shared between the two companies.
Production, however, will be undertaken by BYD at its sprawling manufacturing site in Shenzhen, China.