Tesla Motors is collaborating with Daimler AG on two affordable EVs planned for production within the next few years. In an interview with Green Car Advisor Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, confirmed that in addition to the previously publicized Smart EV, the two companies have been working on another zero-emissions vehicle for 'everyman.'
While details on this second vehicle won't be released until later in the year, Musk says the Smart EV will be on the road by the end of 2009 and he expects Daimler to price it well below $30,000. Daimler has been testing the Smart EV in London for a year and a half, but hadn't officially announced its partnership with Tesla until May 19.
As part of the symbiotic relationship, Daimler gets Tesla's lithium-ion battery technology, a 10% stake in the EV company and a seat on the board of directors. Tesla gets access to mass production capabilities that can push more affordable electric cars into the marketplace.
As for the future of the Roadster, which we reported on earlier this week, Musk said that the vehicle is not currently being worked on, and won't likely see production until 2013. He envisions the car as a 2+2 with enough rear legroom to comfortably transport two five and a half foot passengers. The car will have ample trunk space and be available in hardtop and convertible varieties. Customers will be able to choose between rear-wheel and all-wheel drive.
Musk is using his own daily driver, the Porsche Turbo Carrera (yes, he has a Roadster, but it's a few seats short for the kids), as the benchmark for his next electric supercar but that didn't stop him from boasting about the current Roadster's performance. "It is worth noting that our Roadster beats the Porsche GT3 on the Top Gear test track. The Roadster Sport, due out next month, will do even better," said Musk.
The man will never be accused of "thinking small."