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Under its new deal with Tesla Motors, Daimler will help engineer the Model S, increasing its performance.

In exchange, Tesla Motors will help Daimler produce and develop the battery packs and systems for its 2012 Smart Car ED followup.  (Source: CarPages UK)
New move provides big boost for one of the few currently-producing electric vehicle makers

While many car companies, including GM, Chrysler, and Ford are cooking up plans for electric vehicles, Tesla Motors is actually making them and selling them.  Despite a rocky 2008 which saw many layoffs and close calls financially for the company, it succeeded in bring its Roadster to the U.S. market.

Now at a special press conference in Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, a surprising and intriguing announcement was made -- Daimler, former owner of Chrysler and owner of the Mercedes-Benz brand, is buying a 10 percent stake in the company.  More importantly, Daimler will help Tesla with engineering and parts development.  Dr. Thomas Weber, the head of research and development for Mercedes-Benz, was on hand to make the announcement.

He stated, "Our strategic partnership is an important step to accelerate the commercialization of electric drives globally. As a young and dynamic company,Tesla stands for visionary power and pioneering spirit. Together with Daimler's 120 years of experience in the automotive sector this collaboration is a unique combination of two companies' strengths. This marks another important milestone in Daimler's strategy for sustainable mobility."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also was on hand and cheered the news.  He would not reveal how much his company had received from Daimler, other than to comment that it was in the double-digit millions.  This indicates that Daimler's valuation of Tesla to be worth at least $100M USD, a promising sign for the recovering company.

The match seems made in heaven, with both companies focusing heavily on performance vehicles and fuel economy, two sometimes divergent fields.  Daimler will help engineer Tesla's new Model S sedan, while Tesla will help Daimler make a second generation Smart ED electric compact.  Tesla will engineer the battery packs, which use Li-Tec lithium ion cells developed by a Daimler and Evonik joint venture.  Tesla will also have access to the cells for its own vehicles.  The cells are currently scaling to mass production, which should help Tesla be able to produce vehicles quicker.

Looking forward, Daimler plans on having Tesla help it with battery pack integration and battery management systems for its electric vehicles.  The first Tesla-tweaked Smart car will arrive in 2012, with five-digit production planned.  Daimler's Prof. Herbert Kohler (who is in charge of e-drive systems at the German automaker) will take a board position at Tesla and oversee their progress.

With the investment Daimler looks to gain the edge it needs to beat its American EV competitors.  And with the stake, Tesla can finally lay to rest questions of its short-term survival.

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Would *YOU* drive a smart car?
By callmeroy on 5/21/2009 8:20:35 AM , Rating: 2
With Obama's mandate of 35.5 MPG by 2016 there was talk on the radio during my drive in this morning of folks concerned this will vastly impact (pun intended) driver safety in the years to come.

The reasoning goes like this --- government mandate of MPG put on vehicle manufacturers forces more small cars to be produced (smart cars, mini-coopers sized vehicles and the like) since the easiest way to get MPG up is make the vehicle smaller. This in turn will also have the effect of manufacturers, to offset costs of all these small cars they make, to increase the cost of any larger vehicles they sell --- like SUVs and Pickups. With then has the effect of folks cringing at the costs of those larger vehicles and going with the smaller ones.

Final result and point --- smaller cars have less mass, less mass in an accident is a bad thing. Less mass colliding with greater mass = greater chance of death or severe injury for the less mass vehicle.

So I say again, would YOU drive a smart car? Or think about someone you love -- would you be fine with them driving a smart car?

RE: Would *YOU* drive a smart car?
By Regs on 5/21/2009 9:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is too many dumb-dumbs are allowed to drive, but it's so hard to find out who they are when they're not driving.

RE: Would *YOU* drive a smart car?
By heulenwolf on 5/21/2009 9:52:25 AM , Rating: 2
What about the case that both cars have less mass? If lower mass for higher efficiency is a requirement for one car then it will eventually become the requirement for both cars as older cars are retired. Lower mass at the same speed means a net lower kinetic energy in the collision. The occupants of both vehicles are less likely to be injured or killed. Maintaining high vehicle mass actually increases the chance that someone on either side of the accident will be injured or killed in the collision. How your particular car handles the collision has far more to do with its structure than with its mass. A coworker of mine walked away from a highway-speed collision between her Jetta and a loaded dump truck because the car crumpled by design everywhere but the occupant cabin. So, to answer the original question, if a Smartecar has a good structure around it to dissipate collision kinetic energy and protect the occupants, as evidenced in high crash safety ratings, then, yes, I would drive one. If its crash safety ratings are poor, then I'd share your concern but for a different reason.

By callmeroy on 5/21/2009 11:23:09 AM , Rating: 2
Well the design of crumple zones certainly matter, and that is a valid statement / argument. I myself walked away from an accident within the last month when an SUV rear - ended my Dodge Avenger (which I'd say is a mid-size car, thinking of larger cars like Lincolns and older caddies as a "large" car). So the design definitely saved me. I do think mass matters -- even in same sized vehicles. Of course more mass means more energy transfer, less mass means less energy transfer is the base argument made. But less mass cars can also withstand less energy than higher mass ones can -- which of course you need to apply some common for instance folks don't realize that for all the glamor of some of these six figure exotic sports cars, they likely would be worse off in a collision than a car one of us working type folks would own like a sedan - and I'm not talking just at super high speed either.

Apparently, the data talked about on the show suggested that more folks (per million miles) died in accidents in smaller vehicles than in larger vehicles. Which is what kicked off the topic to begin with.

Btw, i wouldn't buy a smart car on space and looks issues alone -- let alone safety. I'm not huge (could stand to lose a few pounds at 6 ft but I HATE even the hint of cramped space in a car and smart cars look god awful to me as well.

RE: Would *YOU* drive a smart car?
By mydogfarted on 5/21/2009 10:37:00 AM , Rating: 2
God, I hate people who parrot talk shows. Remember back in the mid-late 80's when we had the same issues? Well, now we produce cars that weigh nearly the same and are significantly more efficient. Companies bringing existing technology, like direct injection, are seeing increases in efficiency without loss of performance. In seven years, an increase in MPG is not all that unattainable. Yes, we're going to see an increase in production and sales of smaller cars, but how many people driving Tahoes/Suburbans/Excursions/etc really NEED that huge of a car?

By callmeroy on 5/21/2009 11:29:02 AM , Rating: 2
You must hate a lot of people today's age every political story and news event is covered to death on talk shows and 24/7/365 news programs -- which are then augmented by countless folks who then re-gergitate that into blogs.

The funny thing is folks have some comments like that before on DT (I've been visiting the site for years, I just used different log ons from time to time because I'll forget the other one) and yet SOOOOO many times the comments folks make you couldn't tell came straight from them watching the news or reading it from a blog ....but then they act like all the news channels are a joke -- yet that's where they got their views

RE: Would *YOU* drive a smart car?
By Screwballl on 5/21/2009 11:38:25 AM , Rating: 2
considering that Americans are on average larger and taller than the rest of the world. These small shitbox econo cars may work fine in Europe and the orient but how the hell am I going to fit my 6'5" frame, my 5'10" wife, 2 daughters, both in car seats, stroller and the rest of the stuff needed that goes along with kids?
Sure the single mom with 1 kid has no need for the full size beasts but the reason these vehicles are such a big seller are because of the number of multi-child families that are out there that prefer SAFETY over saving a few bucks in gas, including myself.

The REAL PROBLEM is that this 35MPG will be forced on the mid and full size vehicles as well... so a 20mpg increase (from 15mpg to 35 mpg) is attainable? I know it is possible with modern technology but this is something that big oil will really be stepping in to find ways to circumvent or find loopholes in these bills.

If anything, this will force an increased number of used/classic vehicle sales so people don't have to deal with these bogus forced standards.

RE: Would *YOU* drive a smart car?
By Spuke on 5/21/2009 12:29:40 PM , Rating: 2
The REAL PROBLEM is that this 35MPG will be forced on the mid and full size vehicles as well... so a 20mpg increase (from 15mpg to 35 mpg) is attainable?
It's a corporate average, not every car has to meet that standard. Also, the standards are determined by specific formula's. A car that gets 20 mpg EPA mileage won't necessarily be 20 mpg under CAFE standards. The new CAFE standards have not been released yet so we really don't know for sure how it will be calculated. But what we DO know is that cars will be more expensive. I've actually said this many times in other threads to apparently deaf ears.

We have the tech to do it. It will just cost more money to do it. To those that asked for this, open your wallets and put your money where your mouth is. BTW, I think the $1300 average that's been thrown around will be the cost to the manufacturers not the consumer. And considering I don't anyone will be able to meet this standard at first, throw in the fines to the cost of the cars too.

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