Tesla Motors has announced that it has begun a development program with Daimler to build a new electric Mercedes-Benz, using a Tesla powertrain.
The fact that the two companies of very different ages are working together is not new. Daimler has about a 10% stake as an investor in Tesla Motors, and Tesla already supplies batteries for all-electric Smart cars. The deal will include the use of a Tesla motor, gearbox, inverter and software, so it’s pretty much the works. Neither company has discussed when the cars will be released, or how many there will be.
Tesla also develops an electric power train for the Toyota RAV 4 EV. Toyota has also invested $50 million in Tesla. The RAV 4 EV is expected to go on sale this year.
The news of this Daimler deal comes hot on the heels of details revealing the impressive-looking Tesla Model X, which will go into production next year (see Tesla Model X SUV Revealed, Falcon–Wing Doors Included). The Model X will be Tesla’s third model, after the Tesla Roadster and the sleek Model S sedan, which is going into production this year.
Financially, the company is still making a loss. According to recent company earnings, revenues were $204.24 million, up from $116.74 million in 2010. The net loss was $251.41 million, larger than the year before at $154.33 million. However, Tesla is epecting to make and sell 5,000 Model S cars, and is estimating full year revenues to be around $550-600 million in the coming year.