Media outlets are reporting today that German automaker and Mercedes parent Daimler AG has acquired a stake in Silicon Valley electric-car builder Tesla Motors. Word is, Daimler’s nearly 10 percent buy is the latest component in the company’s plan to expand production of cars that rely on the power grid, not dead dinosaurs, for motivation.
Daimler and Tesla are already partners, collaborating on batteries and control systems for an electric version of Daimler’s two-seat Smart ForTwo. Forbes puts the stake at somewhere in the “double-digit millions” range. Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk says the deal will let the two companies work more closely on developing better battery and electric drive systems for vehicles, and help Tesla bring its new Model S sedan to market faster and at a higher quality.
Daimler has been fleet-testing 100 models of its Smart ForTwo ED — an all-electric version of the popular minicar — in London, with production slated for later this year at the company’s factory in Hambach, France.