Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he will reach out to Daimler to propose a collaboration on an electric version of the Sprinter van.
It wouldn’t be without precedent since Daimler and Tesla have collaborated on electric vehicles in the past.
Tesla supplied the electric powertrains for the first generation electric Smart cars and electric Mercedes-Benz B-Class.
But that was when Daimler was actually a Tesla shareholder.
Back in 2009, Daimler invested $50 million for roughly 9% of Tesla’s stock.
The investment came amidst the financial crisis, which hit automakers quite hard and Musk later admitted that Tesla would have likely gone under if it wasn’t for the investment.
It ended in 2014 when Daimler stopped its powertrain supply contract with Tesla and ended up selling its stake in the company for $780 million – a healthy profit on a $50 million investment.
But they could partner up again as Musk said that they would reach out to them about making an electric version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van:
Maybe interesting to work with Daimler/Mercedes on an electric Sprinter. That’s a great van. We will inquire.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2018
Musk’s comment comes after Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche recently said that Mercedes-Benz is open to working with Tesla again.
However, Mercedes-Benz also already has its own electric eSprinter van program coming to market next year.
The timing of both Zetsche and Musk talking about a partnership between Daimler and Tesla within weeks is interesting.
I doubt this is actually going to happen, but I’d like to be proven wrong because I think that a good electric commercial van is certainly needed and the eSprinter is definitely not it.
It is expected to have a limited range for some urban driving applications, like its eVito mid-size electric van.
Something with more range and still the capacity of the Sprinter would very interesting and definitely something that Tesla could help with.
That said, I expect Daimler to leverage its more powerful electric powertrain from its new EQ vehicles before turning to Tesla for help in developing an electric van.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.