Daimler In Talks With Tesla For Electric Van

FEB 6 2019 BY MARK KANE 33

A Tesla van based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter?

Elon Musk‘s idea about a joint electric van project between Tesla and Daimler is still alive and has its continuation in high-level talks.

Daimler already introduced the Mercedes-Benz eVito and soon will introduce also the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter, which in conventional version is used by Tesla.

At the current stage, it’s not clear whether Tesla would like to build its own vans, based on the Daimler’s gliders (no battery, powertrain or computing tech) using its own powertrain, or if it would be an all-new jointly developed vehicle.

“After a November tweet by Musk, the two companies started sounding out possible prospects for a battery-powered van through a series of phone calls involving Jerome Guillen, a Tesla executive who previously worked for Daimler.

“These talks are happening,” Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said Wednesday in Stuttgart, adding that the “outcome is open.”

Tesla and Daimler already did a few joint EV conversions, ordered by Daimler:

  • smart fortwo ED
  • Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL
  • Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

The main reason for Tesla to tie with Daimler would be to accelerate the introduction of electric vans. Daimler probably does not necessarily need Tesla’s help, because already it has a growing lineup and will simply improve performances/range over time like in the case of cars.

Source: finance.yahoo.com

Categories: Daimler, Tesla, Trucks

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33 Comments on "Daimler In Talks With Tesla For Electric Van"

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I think it has potential. One knows how to make vans, the other electric drivetrains. You figure out which one is which. It will compete with the Ford VW electric van, if that comes to fruition.
These sorts of changes take a long time, till they don’t.

Tesla can build a great electric Van all by themselves. They are just short on resources for now. All hands are on Model Y, Semi, Model 3, pickup truck……

Tesla and Daimler together can start manufacturing electric vans in large numbers much faster than Tesla can alone. I’d rather have my electric sprinter in a few years, rather than ten.

The electric Sprinter will be for sale in Norway in 2019.
Due to weight regulations (and a heavy battery), if can only carry 1000kg.
For many, that is enough of course . . but the battery is not fully integrated in the construction.

Now, imagine if Mercedes sold the electric sprinter as a minibus (like they do with the normal Sprinter), then you can take 1000kg/17 passengers.. = average passenger weight of 58-59kg. And that is without luggage.

The next generation after that will probably be more integrated. If there are money to be made of course. A massive redesign of an award winning van it probably not so interesting if it will be hard or impossible to make money in the end. Maybe several manufacturers should cooperate on the development of that van, and get volume up and price down.

Of course they can, but vans are a limited market – and it’s quite hard to get a volume high enough. There are also weight restrictions, that makes it hard to just add a massive battery under it. New EU rules would make it legal for an electric van to weigh more then a normal ICE van, and it can still be driven by a normal license. It’s not that much more, but enough to make a real difference. Another solution is of course to make the van almost entirely out of aluminium. That will be a problem with cost, on top of the battery cost. The current electric vans for sale now are just too expensive. Depending on the situation of course.. . but we’re talking 2-3 times as expensive as the ICE version. In some cities the vans HAVE to be electric, so the extra cost is just added to the transportation price they charge their customers. The Sprinter is a great van, but would be even better in aluminium (if done right, less corrotion problems, and lower weight), and a battery large enough to match the new regulation size. I’m not sure if there will be a… Read more »

I wouldn’t be surprised that since Tesla has purchased Maxwell that a joint venture with Mercedes’s to build the next evolution in battery range, longevity, lower weight and cost.
I was surprised that Panasonic entered an agreement with Toyota.
However since China requires foreign manufactures to use cells manufactured in China. It makes sense now why Tesla Model 3 will be using Chinese manufactured cells for there batteries.

Dream ride … 4×4 Sprinter Off-Road EV Camper Van with about 300+ miles of range; and the DCFC infrastructure on the East Side (CA 395) to support some great trips! Keep hope alive … !

Mr Hope has passed on, sadly…. but his spirit can live on in the Tesla-powered Mercedes Sprinter!


That is the vehicle I have been hoping to own for over a decade!

Where do I sign?

I sucked in a big puff of dirty, smelly diesel smoke as the Fed Ex Sprinter drove out of my driveway. We can’t get fully electric commercial grade vans fast enough!

Clean air and blue skies.

Work with Westphalia for the camper parts, just to minimize the level of claptrap most RV manufacturers want to add. Could be very nice, especially if it was Tesla badged and could use the SuperCharger network.

Great comment! The pent up demand for Westfalia Sprinters in N. America is huge. Just look how the Airstream older Sprinter Westfalias get gobbled up selling for big dollars even with big miles on them.

I enjoy the clever use of space Westfalia’s have that nobody else has reached in a short wheelbase Sprinter. Short wheelbase means easy to use as a second vehicle everyday. Fits in parking spots, the wife can drive one.

Another Westy hallmark = lightweight. Why does everyone else bulk up their RVs with laminate cabinetry? Every pound saved equals less money on fuel.

Tesla or Mercedes, give us what we want and need. A lightweight Swiss Army Knife of a camper van we can use every day as well. To safely haul cargo, kids, groceries, tools and toys. To be manueverable with stand up interior and efficient, clean driving.

You forgot ‘with sides and roof covered in flexible solar panels’.

Burning Man/Van!

What is in it for Tesla?

Drive system sales to other companies which is what Elon originally wanted before being forced to become a car make to prove it can be done.

Which will bring down the per unit cost for Tesla due to capex being spread across more drivetrains.

Sales of components without the back end facilities, labor, or servicing. They get in with a lack of needing to also design, sell, or spend capex for the van.

Just for starters, how about a clean, quiet, smooth electric Tesla Service van pulling up to your home instead of a smelly, loud Mercedes Sprinter with a big red Tesla logo splashed across it?

Optics are important. Tesla means ELECTRIC transport. We’ve seen Model S service cars too. Pathetically, they remove the back seat so tools and parts fit inside.

Tesla needs a van. The need is pretty basic.

Which they’ll have with a Mercedes van and a Tesla battery and drive train.
Mercedes also gets access to Tesla charging stations.

Great news…..win win for both!

“Daimler probably does not necessarily need Tesla’s help, because already it has a growing lineup and will simply improve performances/range over time like in the case of cars.”

Mark, I’m going to have to strongly disagree with you, buddy. The growing lineup you refer to is a very restricted, limited edition of expensive boutique EVs Daimler designed upon existing ICE platforms. This does not even challenge Tesla’s skateboard approach. The EQ lineup of cars have long ICE hoods, not spacious EV proprietary cabover designs like Teslas and upcoming Volkswagen MEB-based models do. The Daimler and Audi EV’s pathetic comparable efficiency is due in part to their insistence that EVs should look like their legacy ICE models with large faux grilles up front, and the inherent weight of the modular powertrain packages plopped inside where their traditional gasoline and diesel engines once were. Battery packs jammed in where gas tanks and spare tires once lived.

These limitations are placeholders and government mandate pleasers. In the case of a van, I believe the tables have turned and Mercedes would benefit just as much as Tesla in a collaboration to create a LONG RANGE Sprinter type product.

I was hoping for a joint venture between The Blue Oval and Musk, in a special edition “Elonoline Van”.

The Tesla / Daimler venture is welcome as well!

The blue oval killed their chances when they stopped Elon from using the Model E designation.

Better service fleet option for Tesla than a Model S and possible an X, should be far cheaper.

Hey James. I like your posts. I’m not being a jackass, but I have been using the “James” ID on Inside EVs ever since the first day Jay Cole opened the site. I also wrote several articles and provided art (for free) for them over the years.

I’m requesting that you voluntarily change your ID, possibly just add an initial? This benefits us both. You don’t want your comments mistaken for mine as much as I vice versa.

I’m asking you because the current IEVs staff has ignored my requests and both you and I post here daily.

Such an editorialized title – Daimler has the eVito & eSprinter are already about to enter serial production while Tesla has nothing in the game. What leverage does Tesla have other than perhaps modify the battery for a longer range version at this point in time?

Hmm. Maybee something futuristic like autopilot, UI and ota?
And somthing petrolheads love: power..

And US sales without having to make the heavy battery packs in Europe just to be shipped to the US. I presume such battery packs will have considerable mass.

Indeed. Diamler also produce the electric delivery truck Fuso E-Canter.


Good idea,,would make great platform for an RV shagin wagon..make it 4×4 plz

Tesla is to slow to ramp up production
By now it should have tied up all over the world with ready auto plants to start producing tesla like cars vans and trucks if it wants world to go electric
After ten years it produces only 5000 cars a week
This ways other auto companies will overtake tesla in a few months.

Model 3 is ~6000 and then there are 2000 models/x per week.

8000 per week. Building new factory as we speak.

Pretty surprising, because co-development would seriously hurt Mercedes’ street cred & PR. They’re one of the largest and most respected makers of commercial trucks & vans of all sizes, have multiple electric drivetrain projects going on, and no lack of money to put into R&D.