Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), which has been struggling recently while balancing its start-up related expenses and limited sales potential, has made friends with an unlikely and far more powerful ally.
CNNMoney is reporting that Tesla has teamed with Mercedes-Benz to produce a Mercedes B-Class compact with a fully electric driven power train. The B-Class is not yet available in the United States, but the Tesla-charged version is scheduled to be released stateside early next year — in a few states at first, but more widely available over time. The U.S. will also be the first market for the electric edition compact.
Tesla helped Mercedes develop and is manufacturing parts of the new car’s electric drive system, including the lithium ion battery pack, electric motors, on-board charger and other electronics. The B-Class will be a much smaller Mercedes than Americans are familiar with, as the company has yet to bring a compact model over the Atlantic, which have been widely available in numerous other markets for some time now.
It isn’t Tesla’s first partnership with large manufacturers in its short life, either. Tesla already produces the components needed for the electric version of Toyota’s (NYSE:TM) Rav4 EV.
A full charge will give the Mercedes a range of about 115 miles, more than enough to suit most people’s daily commutes. A two hour quick-charge feature will give the battery about 60 miles worth, while the full charge may take up to seven hours. The engine will produce about 134 horsepower, and should be good for a sub-10 second 0-60 time.
Wired is projecting the price for the vehicle to be in the mid-$30,000s ballpark, a steal compared to Mercedes‘ SLS AMG electric drive super car, which will set you back about $540,000.
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