* Vehicle developed with Chinese partner BYD
* 5-seater will need charging twice a week on average
* Daimler says subsidy will cover almost a third of price
BEIJING, April 20 Daimler said its
DENZA electric car will be eligible for local subsidies in China
when it goes on sale there in September priced at 369,000
DENZA, a local Chinese brand jointly developed with Chinese
partner BYD, forms part of the German auto maker's
push to expand its footprint in the world's largest car market,
and to boost economies of scale for electric cars.
Speaking at Auto China, the car show held in Beijing on
Sunday, Thomas Weber, Daimler's head of research and
development, said: "DENZA is the first complete vehicle that
Daimler has developed together with BYD outside of Germany."
The 5-seater car will be produced by Shenzen BYD Daimler New
Technology Co. Ltd, and will have an operating range of 300 km
(190 miles), Daimler said. It said the average daily driving
distance in China is 50 to 80 km a day, so customers will only
have to charge the car twice a week.
Rapid economic growth and urbanisation have turned China
into the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, resulting
in polluted cities and prompting the government to seek ways to
promote low-emission vehicles in an effort to cut back smog.
China has said it plans to have 5 million electric vehicles
on the road by 2020 and has offered local subsidies for electric
cars that have been developed locally.
In 2010, Beijing started offering 60,000 yuan ($9,700)
handouts to buyers of electric cars, but they are still a rarity
due to the lack of charging infrastructure and high battery
On Sunday, Daimler said the DENZA would be eligible for
local subsidies totalling up to almost 120,000 renminbi
($19,500), which could be deducted from the vehicle price.
The DENZA will also be exempted from many of the policies
used by local governments to limit the number of new cars on the
road, Daimler said. It will be awarded a license plate in
Beijing without having to go through the mandatory lottery
process for conventional vehicles, and it will even get free
license plates in Shanghai and Shenzen.
Daimler has been limited from entering Asia's largest market
on its own because of a law which requires foreign automakers to
structure their China investments as joint venture companies
with state-owned enterprises.
In addition to the ownership cap, the current policy calls
for foreign automakers to set up a jointly-run technical centre
in China and to transfer certain technology to their local
($1 = 0.7228 Euros)
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)