Daimler has taken a 10 per cent stake in American electric car firm Tesla as it prepares for production of the electric Smart, which uses batteries and charging systems developed by Tesla.
The move will provide Daimler with access to Tesla’s experience in bringing the world’s first all-electric car to the open market.
In addition to the Smart, which will be begin production later this year with a batch of 1000, Mercedes-Benz is planning to launch an electric car based in the current A-class platform next year.
Tesla said it will utilise Daimler’s "engineering, production and supply chain expertise," including Daimler’s own lithium-ion battery pack, to speed up the development of its next car, the Model S.
The saloon will go on sale in the US towards the end of 2011.