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In mid-March, on the sidelines of SXSW, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told German magazine T3N that Tesla was responsible for doing away with the negative image of the electric car.
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According to reports, Zetsche made the comment in such a way that it came off like this:
“Tesla has certainly set a positive impulse because they do not say electromobility is renunciation and about ‘granola image’, but on the contrary: that is power and enthusiasm. And that is the right way.”
The T3N interview with Zetsche is very long winded and includes numerous comments from Daimler's CEO. Time and again throughout the interview he applauds Tesla and CEO Elon Musk. Zetsche also says that Mercedes-Benz has been an electric car supporter for over a decade now and notes that the automaker aims to be the segment leader in the coming years with its new EQ electric vehicle sub brand.
The interview closes with these statements from Musk and Zetsche on how Daimler saved Tesla:
Musk: "Without Daimler, Tesla would not exist. Daimler saved Tesla."
Zetsche: "At the time the investment was relatively important for Tesla, because they had some difficulties at the time to go to the next financing round. I believe the money that we have invested and the other investors that followed helped Tesla back then."