Someone is in a big hurry: In March, Daimler and BYD signed an agreement to develop an all electric vehicle “specific to the requirements of the Chinese market.” Usually, it takes a while until something comes from these announcements, especially in China, where everything needs a lot of big red chops. Much to our surprise, we hear that BYD and Daimler signed the contract today to form a 50:50 joint venture for the aforementioned purpose.
According to Gasgoo, the contract was signed today in Beijing by Dieter Zetsche and BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu. Both believe that China will become one of the world’s largest markets for all-electric vehicles.
Note that this is not a contract to build one, but to develop one. For that purpose, a research and technology center going by the name of Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. will be founded. Not surprisingly, it will be located in Shenzhen, where BYD is headquartered.
As both companies are not starting from scratch, development is expected to be fast. Couple battery and powertrain used in BYD’s e6 with Daimler’s car building prowess, and hopefully, the baby will be ready for the world market when it’s grown up.
Signaling that both are well ahead, a Daimler executive whispered at the sidelines of today’s event that Daimler and BYD might already display a prototype of the jointly developed all-electric car at the Paris auto show in October. So building a car shouldn’t be too far off.
Now wait: Didn’t Daimler also buy 10 percent of Tesla? Didn’t Toyota drop money and Nummi into Tesla? Weren’t there rumors about flirtations between Toyota and Daimler about hydrogen-propelled cars? The world of alternate propulsions is getting more complicated than it deserves.