Tesla and Mercedes to partner for electric car

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Tesla Motors headquarters

Tesla and Mercedes are collaborating on a joint venture electric vehicle. Photo Credit: Tumbenhaur/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Tesla Motors, the rock star of independent firms making electric vehicles, has its fingers in all sorts of pies at the moment. The company has pre-orders flooding in for its Model S and Model X cars and has just announced a joint project with Mercedes.

Model X already getting pre-orders

Tesla Motors recently unveiled its next car, the Model X, the electric crossover SUV with the clever “falcon” doors. A good number of people are already in line to buy one, as the company has already pre-sold more than 500 units of the Model X, according to BusinessWeek. The car isn’t going into production until later this year, and the first units won’t be delivered until 2013.

In the meantime, Tesla is about to start producing the Model S, Tesla’s electric sedan. The seven-seat passenger car already has 8,000 orders on the books and Tesla hopes to have 5,000 of them in customer’s driveways by the end of the year. The company is also wrapping up production of the Roadster, the electric sports car that made the company famous.

Around the Benz

Tesla has also announced that it is beginning a joint venture with Mercedes, part of Daimler, one of Tesla’s largest investors, according to AutoBlog. It isn’t known what the car is going to be, but Mercedes showed off a prototype EV variant of the B-Class, Mercedes’ compact five-door hatchback, at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The car, the B-Class E-Cell Plus, was confirmed for production, but Mercedes didn’t say when it was going into production or when it would start appearing at dealerships when it showed the electric B-Class in September 2011.

Tesla already makes battery packs for the Smart ForTwo EV and has an established relationship with Mercedes’ parent, Daimler. Tesla is, according to the Los Angeles Times, going to supply the battery pack, motor, gearbox and other powertrain components for the pending Mercedes project.

Tesla powered RAV4 coming soon

On top of the Model S, Tesla has also provided the drivetrain for the upcoming Toyota RAV4 EV. Toyota, according to the Los Angeles Times, is also one Tesla’s major investors. Exact specifications aren’t available yet, but the prototype RAV4 EV, according to Popular Mechanics, had a 150 horsepower electric motor and roughly a 50 kWh battery pack.

[The regular RAV4  is still awesome and there’s a great selection at Sandy Springs Toyota in Atlanta, Ga.]

The car was capable of getting from 0 to 60 miles per hour around nine seconds and had a top speed of 100 miles per hour. The car’s projected range, according to AutoWeek, is about 100 miles, more than the Nissan Leaf. Charging should take 12 hours on a 240-volt charger and about 24 on a traditional 120-volt socket. The price isn’t available yet, and the RAV4 EV is going to initially be offered only in California, according to Wards Automotive.



Los Angeles Times

Popular Mechanics

AutoBlog: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/02/16/tesla-to-build-electric-mercedes/

AutoWeek: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110414/CARREVIEWS/110419943

Wards Automotive: http://wardsauto.com/ar/toyota_evs_prius_110810/

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