Daimler and BYD form electric-vehicle partnership for Chinese market

Car-makers Daimler and BYD have signed a technology partnership agreement to develop a new electric vehicle specific to the requirements of the Chinese market.

The companies will set up a common technology centre in China to develop, design and test the electric vehicle, which will be marketed under a new jointly-owned brand.

In a joint statement, Daimler and BYD said: "Electric vehicles are especially well-suited for urban driving. With its many metropolitan areas, China has the potential to be among the world's largest markets for zero-emission vehicles."

BYD claims to be China's leading manufacturer in developing advanced battery technology, a field it has invested in since 1995. The company has enjoyed rapid growth since entering the automotive sector in 2003. BYD unveiled its F3DM dual-mode hybrid electric vehicle in December 2008. Soon, the company will officially launch the e6, a pure electric vehicle.

German-based Daimler is active in developing automotive architectures for zero-emissions driving. The company recently launched an electric-drive version of the Smart and in 2010 will introduce an all-electric version of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, Daimler chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: "With this announcement, we continue to push ahead as a global leader in electric mobility. Daimler's know-how in electric vehicle architecture and BYD's excellence in battery technology and e-drive systems are a perfect match. Thus, we will be able to participate in the potential growth of electric mobility in China, currently the largest auto market of the world."

BYD chairman and president Wang Chuanfu said: "With this technology partnership, we have created a win-win business model with complementary competences."

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