Tesla-Mercedes Could Collaborate on an Electric Van

by Denis Gurskiy

If Elon Musk’s twitter feed is to be believed, we might be seeing a second part to the Tesla-Mercedes collaboration from years ago. This time around an electric van might be in the works.

During Musk’s daily twitter check-in he responded to a tweet lamenting the fact that Tesla doesn’t have an electric van.

“We will inquire” Musk states, making it seem like this might become a serious consideration. Musk later went on to elaborate a bit further.

Will we get our hopes up? For now Musk seems to be thinking out loud via twitter. So until we hear a response from Mercedes, we won’t be holding our breath.

However, it is important that two companies have history together. During the hard financial times of 2009, Tesla was hit hard and in need of money. During the same year Daimler (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) had taken a 9% ownership stake in Tesla and provided a much needed $50 million in funding. Daimler would later sell their shares in 2014 for $780 million. During this period however, the two automakers had collaborated on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell, B-Class Electric Drive, and Smart ED.

This history coupled with the fact that only mere weeks ago Daimler’s CEO, Dieter Zetsche, stated that he would not be opposed to cooperating with Tesla, does point towards signs that this collaboration might happen.

The current eSprinter comes in two battery configurations: a 41 kWh version giving 71 miles of range, and a 55 kWh version giving 93 miles of range. While these ranges may be adequate for compact European cities, it might be in Mercedes’s benefit to have a version with a higher range for the US-market where destinations tend to be farther away. This is where Musk’s idea of having Mercedes supply the body while Tesla provides the battery and powertrain comes into play.

The upcoming EQC will have a range that seems to be in the low 200s miles, and it isn’t even projected to come out until 2020. This 55 kWh battery that is in the eSprinter might be the best that Mercedes has at the moment, so it seems they stand to gain by using Tesla’s batteries for a higher range. Additionally Tesla is looking to improve its road side service that’s offered to its customers (which is what spurred the initial tweet). And what better way of embracing an electric future than using electric vans for this purpose?

But like I said, while both companies stand to gain something from this, nothing is official until some sort of confirmation is made from either company.

What do you guys think about this possible Tesla-Mercedes collaboration? Let us know down in the comments below.

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