New Chinese brand Denza has unveiled a concept version of its first production car, due for launch in 2013.
The Denza nameplate is the result of a joint venture between Daimler and Chinese company BYD, focusing on producing pure-electric vehicles.
The concept is badged NEV (New Energy Vehicle), and the production version will be designed, built and marketed in China.
Under a hatchback bodystyle, the NEV's front wheels are driven by a compact electric motor drawing energy from lithium-ion battery cells mounted under the vehicle’s floor.
“The rear seating area was designed to feel as much as possible like a lounge area. The lounge character really comes out through the reclining rear seats integrated into the design”, Denza CEO Lian Yubo said.
The NEV concept is reportedly one of many vehicles Denza is developing, with several prototypes already testing on public roads.
The Daimler/BYD venture takes advantage of BYD’s established credentials with electrified vehicles, including the honour of building the first mass-produced plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Daimler will contribute its architecture, safety and production abilities, but hopes to benefit most from Chinese-market demand for electric vehicles over the next few years.
The German automaker believes that the expanding Chinese middle class and urbanisation, combined with government determination to reduce crude oil reliance, will see the electric vehicle market grow from 10,000 units to 5,000,000 in the next eight years.