Daimler Takes Ten Percent Stake In Tesla Motors
Electric car company Tesla Motors is hooking up with Daimler AG. The German company purchased a ten percent stake in Tesla recently, as the two car companies collaborate on a number of projects.
Tesla, Daimler Work Together
Daimler's move comes as the two companies continue collaborating on lithium-ion technology, the batteries which currently power the Tesla Roadster and will soon power the Tesla S, a seven passenger sedan that Tesla expects to roll out in late 2011. Tesla has been helping Daimler ready the Smart Fortwo to offer a pure electric variant, with the Smart ED expecting to roll out in the near future. Tesla has been helping Daimler with battery integration and battery management systems while Daimler is providing engineering support and perhaps some parts which will be used for the Model S.
Daimler and Evonik jointly own Li-Tec, a lithium-ion battery producer which will sell fuel cells to Tesla Motors. For their part, Daimler gets a seat on Tesla's board. Daimler's cost for acquiring a share of Tesla hasn't been announced, but is reported to be in the tens of millions of dollars, which is chump change compared to the $37 billion Daimler paid to acquire Chrysler in 1998.
The Beautiful Tesla Roadster
Tesla Motors rolled out their first model in 2008, the Tesla Roadster which is a $108,000 sports car. With a range of 245 miles, the Roadster can go from zero to sixty in just 3.9 seconds. To date, just a few hundred units have been produced, but the automaker expects to continue to see production rise over the coming year.
The Tesla S is perhaps the most interesting Tesla model as it will come as close to being a mass produced model as any car on the market. Priced from $57,200, the Tesla S sedan will come with a $7500 federal tax credit which will push the car below the $50,000 price threshold. The automaker believes that mainstream buyers who might purchase a Ford, Toyota, Hyundai or Volkswagen would be attracted to the S despite its price as the biggest costs will be in car's price, not operating expenses.
Daimler Seeks Other Partnerships
Daimler's move to acquire a piece of Tesla comes as the automaker seeks to ensure its own future. With the world's automobile manufacturers facing their worst crisis since the second world war, Daimler needs to collaborate with other car companies. Recently, Daimler and BMW announced that they were working together on several projects, perhaps the early stages of a more expansive union between the two German automakers.
Clearly, the Tesla and Daimler partnership, although a rather small one will work to the advantage of both companies. Unlike the Chrysler fiasco, which cost Daimler tens of billions of dollars, Daimler's stake in Tesla is minimal with a good chance of offering a decent return on the original investment.
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Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance writer who resides in North Carolina. Matt is a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport an aftermarket supplier of quality parts including Mercedes rims and Honda Civic body kits.