Back in 2009—well before the Tesla Model S neared production, and before Tesla had earned the credibility it has today—
Daimler bought a stake in the company
with an eye to the future. That future is now—or at the least, it’s near, according to the latest report.
According to Reuters
, speaking with Daimler CFO Bodo Uebber, the German company wants more cooperation with Tesla. While Uebber declined to get into specifics, he did say Daimler and subsidiary Mercedes-Benz “could use more” electric motors and batteries, indicating a possible future electric compact from the brand.
Mercedes-Benz is already planning to sell the B Class Electric Drive
globally next year. That car promises 134 horsepower, 228 pound-feet of torque, 0-60 mph acceleration in under 10 seconds, and a range of about 115 miles from the Tesla-supplied battery and motor.
But the B Class Electric Drive is more of an electrified conventional car than, say, the BMW i3. Could Mercedes-Benz be eying a more extreme move into the realm of the luxury electric compact car? And if so, what shape might that take?
According to Uebber, the Mercedes-Benz brand is focusing on small premium cars in order to grow a broad base among younger buyers. That would indicate a car that’s not just compact, premium, and very green—whether all-electric or with an available range extender like the i3—but also somewhat affordable.
Mercedes-Benz’s CLA Class has recently begun to forge new territory for the brand in the U.S., with a starting price just under $30,000 (though average transaction prices are likely to hover somewhere above the $40,000 mark). One potential path would be electrification of the A Class
, which isn't currently sold in the U.S., though it is largely similar to the CLA Class; if Mercedes-Benz should take that path, an electric CLA Class wouldn't be out of the realm of possibliity, though it wouldn't likely arrive for several more years.
Mercedes-Benz Concept B Class Electric Drive, 2012 Paris Auto ShowEnlarge Photo