Firstly, yes, we know it’s not pretty. Chinese styling tastes are quite different to European and American ones, after all, so be careful when we tell you to feast your eyes on it. Anyway, that’s not the news: effectively, this is a technology guinea pig for cars we’ll soon see in Europe and North America.
The Chinese brand known as Shenzhen Denza, created by a partnership between Mercedes’ owners Daimler and Chinese low-cost car maker BYD, has launched an upgraded version of its main model. The 400, named for its range in kilometres, has now become the 500.
As most European consumers continue to demand at least 300 miles of charge range before even thinking about switching to electric cars, Mercedes is holding station. China has become a sort of guinea pig for new tech reliability trials, though, and the Denza 500’s 311-mile range is all the proof we need that Mercedes is preparing to launch a product on more demanding continents.
The 500 uses a Mercedes platform, technology and safety equipment, which is all good, fitting it with BYD’s ever-advancing battery technology. Certain Mercedes dealers in China will even service and maintain the whole package.
Daimler calls the new car’s odd new headlights a ‘tiger eye’ style, while the rear LED tail lights, it says, are ‘rippling,’ presumably like a young Jean-Claude van Damme’s biceps. Or something.
It’s not yet clear whether or not Daimler plans to use BYD’s batteries in Europe as part of the overall pertnership deal, but one thing is certain: all-electric Mercedes cars are closing in on production.