Insiders say that the new electric car joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and BYD will be based on the outgoing B-class. In particular, the venture will use a lightly modified version of the car's front-wheel drive platform. The brand of this new zero-emissions hatchback has yet to be disclosed.
But what's sure is that it will only be sold in BYD's domestic Chinese market. This model will only be the first of a new series of all-electric models planned by the joint venture.
To take advantage of the B-class' layout, Mercedes and BYD intend to use the soon-to-be-superseded model's flat-floor structure for the stowage of lithium ion batteries.
This floor's design was initially for that purpose but it was never used during the series production. A lower center of gravity is the result of placing the batteries low down within the platform.
In more conventional applications, the batteries are typically mounted beneath the rear seat and boot floor. The underfloor space taken up by the standard B-class's petrol and diesel engines will be used for an electric motor that will be powering the front wheels. Mercedes and BYD's joint-venture electric car uses the B-class platform but it will get its own styling and interior.