Only last month, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche revealed in an interview with Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita that the company's 2014 divestiture of a stake in Tesla didn't exclude the possibility of a future cooperation between the two firms.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has since given similar comments, revealing via Twitter on Monday that a partnership involving the new Mercedes-Benz eSprinter was worth further investigation.
“Maybe interesting to work with Daimler/Mercedes on an electric Sprinter,” Musk said. “That’s a great van. We will inquire.”
Maybe interesting to work with Daimler/Mercedes on an electric Sprinter. That’s a great van. We will inquire.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 19 November 2018
He also revealed that the partnership could involve Tesla sourcing eSprinter vans from Mercedes, with the electric motors, battery and computer systems removed, referring to them as “gliders.” Tesla would then presumably install its own technology and tweak the styling of the exterior and cabin.
When asked by a Twitter user why Tesla doesn't simply develop an electric van of its own, Musk replied that the company is too busy with its other product plans, namely the Model Y, solar roof tiles, Pickup, Semi, and second-generation Roadster.
Previously, Daimler sourced powertrains from Tesla for the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive that was briefly sold here a few years back. The German auto giant has since launched a wide range of electric vehicles, including passenger cars and commercial vehicles like the eSprinter. The electric van goes on sale in 2019 and will offer a range of about 100 miles.