Posted by: David Kiley on January 13, 2009
Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk said Tuesday morning that the company, which makes expensive electric roadster vehicles, has been working with German carmaker Daimler-Benz for the last 18 months, and specifically helping to develop the electric version of the Smart Fortwo.
The eSmart, will launch in the U.S. in 2010. The initial 1,000 vehicles are expected to be leased. The company will study the performance of the cars for a year, according to Musk, with the idea of ramping up the sales of the cars.
Smart USA president David Schembri said he could not yet say what the lease price would be.
Musk says that he has discussions with Detroit automakers about electric vehicle development, but he said that talks did not lead to any deals.
Smart, which has mafrketed cars in Europe for several years, only launched in the U.S. last year. Americans bought nearly 25,000 Smart Fortwos last year, and December sales were up 24% in December, compared to November.