San Carlos (CA) - The founder of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, who is also the founder of SpaceX - a company to which NASA just awarded reservice supply contracts for the International Space Station through 2016 - claims that his electric vehicle start-up has just signed a deal to provide Daimler with the battery technology that will power 1,000 Smart electric vehicles, to be placed on the road by the end of 2009.
The deal is not exclusive, however. In the past Daimler announced a partnership with Evonik, a German battery supplier, for the development of lithium ion batters. It is not uncommon for automakers to have relationships with multiple suppliers during the testing stages.
"If the 1,000-vehicle fleet is successful and the economics make sense and the product is compelling, that will expand to tens of thousands of vehicles per year," Musk said in an address to the Society of Automotive Analysts meeting held alongside the auto show. "Daimler is really looking at this as a very serious product."
This deal has been in the works for a while and was struck just in time for the Detroit Auto Show. For over a year Tesla has been working with Daimler in effort to develop a battery pack and charger for the Smart EV, and rumors of a partnership between the two companies have been making their rounds for months.
Tesla claims the battery will utilize the same lithium ion cells as its flagship, the Roadster. At this point the technical specifications for the battery have yet to be released.
Daimler is also not commenting on Tesla’s announcement.