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About two years ago, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler announced that it was forming a new electric car brand for the Chinese market with its local partner BYD. The new brand was called Denza and it combined Daimler’s expertise in vehicle engineering, safety technology and quality production with BYD’s leading battery technology.
Well, at this week’s 2014 Beijing Auto Show, the first production Denza was revealed. It’s a small electric hatch slightly larger than the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and it has a driving range of 186 miles on a single charge of its lithium iron phosphate battery. Power comes from an 86-kilowatt (115-horsepower) electric motor that can spirit the car to a top speed of 93 mph. The battery has an impressive 47.5-kilowatt-hour capacity and can be safely charged at home. According to Daimler, the cost of the electricity to run the Denza car works out to be a little over $3 per 62 miles.
Inside, there is seating for five, just over 16 cubic feet of storage space and a clean, functional design with digital displays. The car’s battery is framed by a lightweight aluminum case with extrusion profiles. Designed to absorb large amounts of energy, it is located at the safest place in the car—underneath the body. The layout also ensures that all powertrain components are separated from the passenger compartment.
Two different trim levels are available, Lifestyle and Executive, with both offering 18-inch alloys, leather trim, and a touchscreen interface. The Executive trim adds niceties such as a Harman-Kardon sound system, xenon headlights, and satellite navigation. Pricing starts at approximately $60,000 (based on current exchange rates), before various subsidies are factored in.
For more from the 2014 Beijing Auto Show, head to our dedicated hub.