The Canadian Press
Tesla developing electric Smart cars with Daimler
18 hours ago
DETROIT Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that the company is developing an electric Smart microcar with Daimler AG and plans to initially produce 1,000 of the vehicles.
Musk said his San Carlos, Calif.-based electric carmaker has been working with Daimler since late 2007 to produce the vehicles for lease customers. Tesla will produce the battery pack and charger for the Smart electric car.
"If the 1,000-vehicle fleet is a success and the economics make sense and the product is compelling, that will expand to tens of thousands of vehicles per year," Musk told the Society of Automotive Analysts at a meeting coupled with the North American International Auto Show.
"Daimler is really looking at this as a very serious product," Musk said.
Daimler brought its Smart fortwo to the U.S. last year just in time for gas prices to peak, and it sold more than 24,000 of them. The eye-catching two-seaters are less than 2.74 metres long with a three-cylinder engine that gets the car 41 mpg on the highway.
The gas-powered fortwo has a starting price of $12,000. Musk didn't disclose how much the electric version would cost, when it will be available or how far it could go on a full charge. Daimler officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Tesla, which started in 2004, showed its $109,000 all-electric two-seat Roadster sports car at the Detroit show. Musk said the company hopes to unveil its five-passenger Model S luxury electric car in late February, with a price tag of $57,400.
Musk said the deal with Daimler was nonexclusive and Tesla was looking to establish more strategic relationships with other automakers.
"We believe in cooperative strategic partnerships and only doing a few of them," Musk said, rejecting reports of a "Silicon Valley versus Detroit" rivalry in the auto industry.
"Nothing can be further from the truth. We've actively sought to work with major car companies to supply them with electric powertrain technology," Musk said.