|DENZA. Click to enlarge.|
Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT) officially unveiled its DENZA all-electric vehicle at Auto China 2014, in Beijing. The world premiere of the serial production model is the culmination of cooperative efforts at the 50:50 R&D technology joint venture established by Daimler and BYD back in 2010—the first Sino-German joint venture dedicated to an all-electric vehicle in China. (Earlier post.)
DENZA is powered by an 86 kW (peak) motor that provides a maximum speed of up to 150 km/h (93 mph) and peak torque of 290 N·m. With 47.5 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery capacity, DENZA has a range of up to 300 km (186 miles). In light of the fact that the average daily driving distance in China is 50 to 80 kilometers a day, the typical customer will only have to recharge DENZA twice a week. Driving 100 km with a DENZA costs less than 20 RMB (US$3.20).
DENZA has been designed around its lithium iron phosphate battery which is framed by a lightweight aluminium case with extrusion profiles. Designed to absorb large amounts of energy, it is located safely underneath the body. The layout also ensures that all powertrain components are separated from the passenger compartment.
Additionally, DENZA’s intelligent Power Flow Management System constantly monitors the energy flow between the battery and powertrain to guarantee that, in the event of an accident, the battery is disconnected automatically and, if needed, quickly discharges to levels below critical values.
As a forerunner in electric vehicle safety, BDNT worked closely with China’s official safety certification body, CATARC, to develop an electric vehicle safety standard for China. By also considering real life accident data, DENZA has gone further than these legal requirements.
The DENZA has been put through 18 months of intensive testing that saw various cars drive over 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) across all of China under extreme and various weather and road conditions. This testing program, which looked at overall quality and endurance, was complemented by additional component testing and crash test programs. In total, BDNT crashed more than 20 cars, including high-speed, low-speed and rollover-scenarios.
DENZA also became the first electric vehicle to be tested according to C-NCAP consumer ratings at C-NCAP facilities, obtaining the highest possible rating of 5 stars.
Charging can be done at any household power outlet, public charging facilities or special wall boxes, with times ranging from seven hours to less than an hour. With the DENZA app, available for both Android and iOS phones, wall box customers can even check on their charging status and vehicle location using their smartphones.
Dedicated sales and service outlets from three of China’s leading automobile dealership groups will distribute the vehicle, initially in Beijing (Pangda Group); Shanghai (Lei Shing Hong Group); and Shenzhen (Zhongsheng Group). Phase 2 market cities will include Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Tianjin.
DENZA’s customer commitment is further supported by 11 service centers, a 24-hours all-year customer service hotline, and a strategic partnership with global leading technology group ABB, with whom DENZA aims to establish the world’s largest charging infrastructure in China by 2020. (Earlier post.) ABB will provide a variety of flexible fast charging solutions for DENZA customers, per request and as a one-stop-solution as it is fully integrated in DENZA’s sales and aftersales process.
BDNT’s first DENZA car will be on the market in September 2014. Starting at RMB 369,000 (~$US59,000), DENZA offers its customers exemption from the standard license plate lottery in Beijing, or free license plates in Shanghai and Shenzhen; and central and local subsidies totaling up to almost RMB 120,000 (~US$19,000) that can be deducted from the vehicle price right away.