Mercedes teams up with Tesla for a new electric car

By Jerry Hirsch / Los Angeles Times
Published: February 17. 2012

LOS ANGELES – Electric car company Tesla Motors Inc. announced a deal to provide the powertrain for a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle, even as it moves closer to manufacturing its own vehicles later this year.

The Palo Alto, Calif., automaker also said Wednesday that it expected revenue to roughly triple this year, when it will begin selling the Tesla Model S sedan, its first ground-up design. The company is about to launch production of the Model S at its factory in Fremont, Calif.

For the new Mercedes model, Tesla will provide the battery packs, motor, gearbox, inverter and all related software. It will start to record sales for the contract starting in the second quarter. Mercedes has not released details about the new vehicle. Tesla has previously provided Daimler with battery packs and chargers for its experiments with electric car production.

As expected, Tesla has continued to pile up losses as it prepares to produce the Model S, the first vehicle it will make in any volume. Tesla posted a net loss of $81.5 million in the fourth quarter and $254.4 million for 2011. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 9 percent to $39 million from the same period a year earlier. Full-year revenue in 2011 rose 75 percent to $204 million.

Tesla also said it was developing a growing backlog of business. It has 8,000 pre-orders for the Model S and has already logged 500 reservations for a Model X crossover announced just last week.

Tesla Model X crossover EV unveiled, set for late ’13 launch
By Autoblog Staff Posted Feb 10th 2012

The all-electric Tesla Model X crossover was unveiled at a red-carpet, velvet-rope style event at the Tesla Design Studios in Hawthorne, CA tonight, with company co-founder Elon Musk confirming that the Model X will start production late next year and that full production is expected in 2013.

With luminaries such as California Gov. Jerry Brown in attendance and a post-announcement concert by Foster the People, Musk presented a CUV that, as rumored, has so-called “falcon-wing” doors that are similar to those of the old gull-wing vehicles but bend in the middle, allowing them to be opened in tight spaces while offering better access to the rear and third row of seats. Musk said the Model X, which is expected to be priced similar to the $57,500 Model S sedan set to debut this summer, can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, or 0.2 seconds quicker than a Porsche 911. The vehicle, which Musk says can seat “seven real adults,” actually has front and rear electric motors that instantaneously shift power from one to the other to maximize traction, Musk said. He added that the CUV’s turning radius was comparable to that of a Mini Cooper.

Musk, speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 people, touted the Model X as having, “more room than a minivan, more style than an SUV and more performance than a sports car.” Indeed, with no internal combustion engine, the vehicle has substantial rear cargo space behind the third row of seats as well as a “frunk” in front of the car (which provided the evening’s only glitch with a sticky latch. See video of that after the jump). Musk said that the “frunk” has the same storage space as the rear cargo area of an Audi Q7. Musk should know, since he owns one.

Musk also said Telsa will start deliveries of the Model S sedan – upon which the X is based – “no later than July” and will start taking online reservations for the Model X at noon Pacific time Friday. Tesla is expected to produce between 10,000 and 15,000 Model X units a year starting in 2014.

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