BEIJING, CHINA - BYD Co. Ltd. and Daimler AG on May 27 signed a contract creating a research and technology joint venture that will develop an electric vehicle for China. 

The joint venture, named Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd., will capitalize on Daimler's know-how in electric vehicle architecture and safety as well as BYD's expertise in battery technology and e-drive systems, Daimler AG said. 

The vehicle will be marketed under a new brand jointly created and owned by Daimler and BYD. 

"Together with Daimler we are making excellent progress identifying opportunities to utilize the strengths of both companies to create a new brand of electric cars for China," said Wang Chuanfu, chairman and president of BYD Co. Ltd. "This is a unique and exciting initiative and together we are pushing hard to bring this new electric vehicle to market as soon as possible." 

"Our new joint venture is well positioned to make the most of the vast potential of electric mobility in China," added Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG. 

Wang and Zetsche signed the joint venture contract in Beijing. This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on March 1. Engineers, designers and other executives from both companies established working teams after the signing of the MOU agreement to begin working on the vehicle concept. The business license for the new joint venture is subject to relevant government approval. 

Daimler recently launched the smart fortwo electric drive and this year will introduce two Mercedes-Benz electric cars: the B-Class F-CELL with fuel cell technology as well as the battery electric A-Class E-CELL. 

China-based BYD is a leading developer of advanced battery technology, a field it has invested in since 1995. The company has enjoyed rapid growth for five years after entering the automotive sector in 2003. It is the fastest-growing Chinese automotive manufacturer. 

BYD introduced its F3DM dual-mode hybrid electric vehicle to the world in December 2008 and started direct sales to individual customers in March 2010. The company recently launched the e6, a pure-electric vehicle. BYD established itself as the first manufacturer in China to commercialize taxi business with its e6.