elon musk tesla
For billionaire Elon Musk, Twitter is a powerful — and sometimes dangerous — tool. | Source: REUTERS/Kyle Grillot

Billionaire Elon Musk’s Twitter is so powerful he can forge high-profile alliances with a single tweet. That’s what triggered Musk’s talks with German automaker Daimler to collaborate on an electric van inspired by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

“These talks are happening,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said. “The outcome is open.”

Elon Musk Brainstorms on Twitter

The potential joint venture started after a Twitter user told Musk that he wishes Tesla made an electric van.

Musk responded by saying he may be interested in teaming up with Daimler on an electric version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

“May be interesting to work with Daimler/Mercedes on an electric Sprinter. That’s a great van,” Musk tweeted in November 2018. “We will inquire.”

Shortly afterward, Jerome Guillen ― a Tesla executive who once worked at Daimler ― called his former employer to discuss a potential joint venture. Tesla and Mercedes-Benz are now quietly talking behind the scenes. However, no details have been disclosed.

Meanwhile, Daimler plans to unveil an electric version of its Sprinter later this year. It’s unclear what input Tesla had with the forthcoming vehicle, or if Tesla and Daimler will develop a separate electric van down the line.

While the Sprinter may be functional and practical, it’s not the most attractive electric vehicle ever designed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TijpY43I_g

Daimler Invested $50 Million in Tesla in 2009

Interestingly, Tesla and Daimler have a cozy history. In May 2009, Daimler acquired a 9% stake in Tesla ― which was then an obscure startup ― for $50 million.

At the time, Daimler said it took an equity position in Elon Musk’s fledgling company to accelerate the commercialization of electric cars.

Two months later  ― in July 2009 ― Daimler transferred 40% of its Tesla stake to an investing arm of the government of Abu Dhabi.

In 2014, Daimler sold its remaining 4% share in Tesla for $780 million. The buyer was not disclosed.

Big Auto Is Hunting Musk Like a Pack of Wolves

tesla electric car
Tesla is under fire from a variety of competitors entering the electric vehicle market. | Source: Shutterstock

For his part, Elon Musk needs all the allies he can muster. As CCN reported, Tesla is being squeezed by Volkswagen, General Motors, and Ford, which are all ratcheting up their electric-car game.

In January, German automaker Volkswagen said it’s investing $800 million to expand an electric vehicle plant in Tennessee. Tesla also faces mounting competition from General Motors, which is launching an all-electric Cadillac.

In addition, Ford is investing $11 billion to make electric cars by 2022, CNBC reported.

While Tesla has three EV models (the Model X, Model S, and Model 3), Ford plans to eventually have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its lineup.

Elon Musk on Competition: The More, the Merrier

While lesser CEOs might feel threatened by the rapid onslaught of competition in a field he pioneered, Elon Musk embraces it.

Musk has repeatedly said that fierce competition will advance his goal of promoting the widespread use of electric cars.

“The whole point of Tesla is to accelerate the advent of electric vehicles,” Musk said in December 2018 (see video).

If somebody comes and makes a better electric car than Tesla and it’s so much better than ours that we can’t sell our cars and we go bankrupt, that’s a good thing for the world.”

Elon Musk Image from REUTERS/Kyle Grillot

You May Also Like

Elon Musk’s Inspiration for the Lame Cybertruck Was a James Bond Movie

The Tesla Cybertruck may have been inspired by some cool vehicles, but that doesn’t mean truck-owners will get on board with the design.

New Trump Tariffs Could Send Beer Prices Soaring

Another round of surprise Trump tariffs are the president’s remedy for weaker foreign currencies, but it could be bitter news for beer prices.

Billionaire Ray Dalio: US Empire Fading as Shanghai Becomes World Financial Hub

Ray Dalio believes that the U.S. empire is losing steam. China is on the rise, and if the trade war goes awry, it will lead to chaos.

Hey Larry Page & Sergey Brin, You Forgot to Sign the Giving Pledge on Your Way Out

Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s fans will be disappointed as they leave Google. So will Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, but for different reasons.

YouTube Rewind 2019 Is the Blandest Thing on the Face of the Planet

YouTube Rewind 2019 is here, and it is the blandest video that has ever existed.

Tesla (TSLA) Insiders are Not Buying Elon Musk’s Robo-Taxi Pipe Dream

Tesla insiders know Elon Musk’s promise of launching robo-taxis in 2020 is going to fall flat on its face and are dumping shares.