Elon Musk Open To Mercedes-Benz Collaboration On Electric Sprinter Van

Besides plotting new models for its electric car lineup, Tesla’s plans also include building a semi truck and a pickup. Why not an electric van, then?

Well, in a recent exchange of tweets with Tesla fans, Elon Musk admitted that an electric van would make sense for the company. A Twitter user asked the Tesla CEO why the company’s assistance vans aren’t electric. Here’s what Musk replied.

“Maybe interesting to work with Daimler/Mercedes on an electric Sprinter. That’s a great van. We will inquire.”

Of course, some users were quick to point out to Musk that Mercedes already has plans for an electric van called the eSprinter (pictured). The latest-generation Sprinter van launched in February this year when the German automaker also previewed the electric version that will arrive in 2019. Two all-electric models will be available with driving ranges of 115 km (71.5 miles) and 150 km (93 miles), respectively.

Apparently, Musk isn’t interested in the eSprinter electric van per se but rather in getting the empty body shells from Mercedes. Without getting into many details, he said that it would make more sense for Tesla to cooperate on an electric van with a company like Daimler than to develop it from scratch.

Musk believes the collaboration could work out if Tesla got van gliders from Daimler and fitted them with its own EV tech. “It’s either get van gliders (no battery, powertrain or compute tech) from Daimler and produce sooner or do all and produce later. Not a big difference to total vehicles produced either way,” Musk tweeted.

Daimler didn’t comment on whether it was open to collaborating with Tesla but a spokesman told Reuters the company was pleased by Musk’s interest in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

If Tesla and Daimler got into talks, it wouldn’t be the first time the two companies collaborated. From 2009 to 2014, the German company owned about 9 percent of Tesla’s stock. During that period, Tesla supplied the electric powertrains for the first generation electric Smart cars and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive.

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  • Mr. EP9

    Ford is now building electric trucks with DHL and are collaborating with VW on other commercial vehicles. Still feels like this is a response to that on Teslas part.

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