Daimler BYD electric vehicle to debut in April of 2012

The design is "frozen," according Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche and the vehicle is "on track."

Those words from Zetsche refer to an upcoming electric vehicle, which stems from the joint venture between Daimler and China's BYD – official name: Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd. What Zetsche is implying is that the development of the JV's first electric vehicle is complete and that it will debut as planned in April of 2012. To get this far, it appears that Daimler had to do much of the heavy lifting – Zetsche told Inside Line that the "breakthrough" battery technology BYD was supposed to have doesn't exist – even though his company remains "very confident about [BYD]."

There are still concerns that BYD's struggles – including laying off of thousands of employees – could spell the end of the Daimler-BYD deal. That seems like it's not the case, but China's apparent lack of love for plug-ins could be one issue that even the Daimler-BYD JV will fail to overcome. Whatever happens in the government, big EV incentives remain on the books, and they may go far to spur purchases.

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