BYD and Daimler in EV Joint Venture

byd e6

The Picture: BYD’s all-electric e6, which has a nominal range of 330 km.

BYD Company Limited and Daimler AG signed an agreement on May 27 to establish a joint venture developing electric cars. The new venture, to be called Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Company, will be equally owned by the two, and have a registered capital of 600 million yuan.

Consumers can expect to test drive their EV products in as early as 2013, Chinese sources say.

BYD, meaning "Build Your Dreams," is a Hong Kong listed company. Its global headquarters is located in Shenzhen, where the new company is also to be based. Originally a cell-phone battery supplier, BYD began building mini passenger cars in 2003. With 2010 first-quarter sales reaching 163,500 units, it is now a top sedan-makers in China. However, many still consider BYD an industry imitator with regard to car-building, as it seems to have thrived on copying designs from foreign rivals. Its most popular model, the F3 compact sedan, was developed through brazenly plagiarizing Toyota Corolla; and the upcoming M6 MPV mirrors Toyota Previa.

Yet, when it comes to battery and new energy technology, BYD seems to be a genuine leader. With better batteries, it is regarded by many, including Warren Buffett, one of the strongest contenders in the EV realm.

Two electric cars from BYD are currently on the market: the F3DM plug-in hybrid and the all-electric e6. The last-mentioned has been said to have the longest range, at 330 km, among all highway-capable, pure-electric cars around the world.

BYD and Daimler first announced partnership plan in March this year. According to a Chinese website article, re-posted on BYD’s official site, EV development will be one of the two primary objectives of this partnership. The other one, envisioned by BYD, is to launch new sedan models that will be priced around 300,000 yuan and somehow bridge the BYD and Mercedes-Benz lineups. In other words, BYD expects a gentrification from teaming up with Daimler.