Following the report on Friday that Lotus was planning to introduce an electric car of its own, we contacted Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk for a comment. Tesla and Lotus collaborated on development of the Roadster and Lotus builds the rolling chassis at its Hethel factory. The FT story did not come as a surprise to Musk. Lotus apparently let Tesla know of its plans in advance and Tesla is hoping to sell some powertrain components to Lotus for the new car.
Tesla already has one powertrain supply deal with a company that has not been disclosed yet. Musk hopes that customer will be willing to make a public announcement in the next month or two. That customer is widely believed to be Daimler and the powertrain is destined for the second-generation Smart ED. Musk will be in Detroit the week after next to deliver a keynote about working with automakers to supply powertrain systems, components and software.
With the current financial situation being what it is, Musk also wants to play nice with Detroit as evidenced by the following comment, "I've made some comments about Silicon Valley being a lot more competitive on the world stage than Detroit, which few would disagree with and I think is a fair criticism, but that has been misinterpreted as anti-Detroit. The right move here for Detroit is to harness Silicon Valley innovation and work with companies like Tesla. It is ironic that our first major automotive partner is not American."