A few months back, Tesla Motors revealed that its upcoming WhiteStar sedan would be available in two variants, a pure battery electric like the Roadster and a range-extended electric more like the Chevy Volt. We still don't have many details on the car, although we do know that lessons learned while working on the drivetrain for the heavier sedan have been fed back into the Roadster for its updated 2.0 drivetrain.
As a small start-up with limited resources, developing a new engine for the WhiteStar would obviously be problematic. Tesla Chairman Elon Musk let slip in an interview with Fox Business News that the company has reached a technology deal with German giant Daimler (formerly of DaimlerChrysler infamy). Without any official comment from Tesla yet (we'll update you when we here something), one possible scenario for the deal is that Daimler will provide engines for the range extended WhiteStar. Daimler has always struggled to make money from Smart and the micro-car builder has a 1.0L three cylinder engine that might make a good range extender. If Daimler supplied 10,000 or so of those engines to Tesla, it could help drive down Daimler's costs. The other possibility is that Tesla might be licensing battery management technology to Daimler, but that scenario seems less likely.
Update: Tesla VP Darryl Siry declined comment on the matter.
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