To those of us who were starting to wonder whether Tesla would ever do anything useful for non-millionaires, we now have proof they will. Though they are still stalled on the manufacturing plant for their less-expensive sedan, they will be helping to produce cheaper electric vehicles.
Specifically, they'll be providing the battery packs for Daimler's electric Smart Car! Elon Musk made the announcement after I left the Detroit Auto Show (nothing important ever happens on the third day of the show!!)
According to Musk, the program is already well underway and they already have a prototype battery pack ready. The pack will find it's way into 1000 pure-electric smart cars in the next year or so, and a portion of those will be coming to the U.S. for testing in urban markets in 2010.
This is the kind of collaboration that's really exciting to hear about. And though I'd like to see more than a paltry 1,000 pure EV Smarts out there, until the infrastructure starts getting in place, it'll be difficult to sell these things in the cities where they are most practical.
written by Marie Currie, January 15, 2009
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