Daimler Takes Stock in Tesla

May 19, 2009

Tesla Motors, and its ineffable founder Elon Musk, may have found the tether to long-term viability that they've been seeking.

No, not the Federal government--though Tesla's application for federal bailout money is still in process. The tether comes in the form of Daimler AG; sister sites GreenCarReports.com and AllCarsElectric.com both report Daimler will take a 10-percent stake in Tesla as it positions itself as an alternative fuel leader.

GCR says the nearly 10-percent stake doesn't come with a disclosure on investment terms, so it could be anywhere from $10 million to $99 million, which would give Tesla a market valuation of up to $1 billion.

Tesla and Daimler have been working together furtively since late last year. In January they announced a cooperation on batteries for the Smart ForTwo EV. The first and best hint at the goings-on? When the Model S sedan appeared in concept form sharing some telltale dimensions with the Mercedes-Benz CLS sedan, and maybe a lot more, as GCR's John Voelcker reports.

Now, it appears Daimler's own electric-car aspirations could make their way into the Tesla Roadster and Model S sedan, if it makes it to production. Daimler's new Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid and its lithium-ion battery pack are on their way to U.S. showrooms, and if the cooperation gets as deep as possible, it's not out of the realm of the possible to see a similar setup in that still-developing Tesla four-door.

[Green Car Reports, All Cars Electric]

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