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by Tim Beissmann

The Denza EV concept has made its world premiere at the 2012 Beijing motor show, previewing the first production car developed under the joint venture between German powerhouse Daimler and domestic manufacturer BYD.

The Denza EV is the product of around two years of development and more than 200 engineers and experts from the Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology (BDNT) collaboration, which was created in 2010.

Daimler Northeast Asia Chairman and CEO Ulrich Walker said the company was “very much on track” with its plan to launch the Denza EV in China in 2013.

Details of the car’s powertrain, range and recharge times have not been revealed at this stage. BYD is contributing its battery technology and electric drive systems know-how and experience in bringing EVs to the market in China, while Daimler is sharing its expertise in automotive design, vehicle architecture, safety and quality.

BDNT CEO Lian Yubo said the Denza’s design brings traditional Chinese elements into the next generation, with a focus on ergonomic design and innovation. The concept incorporates suicide rear doors, reclining rear seats, and features a unique combination of chrome, wood and copper trim panels.

Denza is the first solely New Energy Vehicle (NEV) brand in the Chinese market.

The Chinese government expects the number of NEVs to rise from 10,000 to five million in China by 2020 on the back of the country’s expanding and increasingly open-minded middle class, and increasing urbanisation and government support.