Mercedes-Benz and Tesla may be collaborating on an electric version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-Benz, Dieter Zetsche confirmed on Wednesday that talks were “happening and the outcome is open”.
Daimler and Tesla first started working together over a decade ago, with Telsa providing lithium-ion battery packs and charging technology for a Daimler electric smart car. In 2009, Daimler paid $50 million to acquire a stake in Tesla of under 10 percent — a stake the German company later sold in 2014 for roughly $780 million. Tesla also provided Mercedes with the electric powertrains used to power the electric Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class electric cars before Daimler divested from the company in 2014.
Daimler will start offering an electric version of the Sprinter later this year. The mid-sized van will have a battery range of some 150 kilometers (93 miles) and a maximum payload of more than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds). It remained unclear if the potential project would involve joint development of a new vehicle or if Tesla technicians would switch to the upcoming battery-powered version.