• May 24th 2009 at 11:11AM
  • 16
Elon Musk and Dr. Thomas Weber with the Tesla Roadster and the smart ed

Not everyone think the big Daimler-Tesla deal announced last week is a win-win. In fact, Jay Yarow over at Business Insider is trying to figure our how either side benefits from Daimler's estimated $50+ million investment in Tesla. Yarow's basic argument is that Tesla didn't get enough to save itself and Daimler "picked up a company that has got one product with weak sales and is about to be saddled with enormous debt." Yarow also thinks that demand for Tesla's cars isn't exactly staggering, and it won't get better because there will be a lot more competition in the all-EV market, a market that Tesla currently dominates by default, in a few years.

Based on the excitement this deal generated, though, it's clear that Daimler got something for its money. Association with one of the leaders in the electric car field is an obvious plus, and there's got to be technology involved in the deal that Daimler wants. Yarow does admit that he's not seeing the whole picture, writing, "We must be missing something, though, because in this market, car companies don't let $50 million walk out the door for no good reason."

[Source: Business Insider]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Google "electric car"

      After the sponsored links you get a news article about Tesla and a link to the Tesla Motors website. Just as Frigidaire mean refrigerator and Kleenex means facile tissue, Tesla is becoming the name brand that is synonymous with electric cars.

      Mercedes has long been the brand name of luxury autos.

      It's difficult to understand how anyone can question this deal unless they have an ulterior motive.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I couldn't find anything Tesla related until the second page.

        Sometimes Google results are considerably different by location. I got a lot of Volt and Zenn stuff, and some videos.
      • 6 Years Ago
      WOW, what a politically correct picture!

      "Elon Musk and Dr. Thomas Weber with the Tesla Roadster and the smart ed". Makes you think Mercedes is mostly producing small turdlet cars with electric propulsion, trying to save Mummy Earth.

      Why oh why didn't they take a photo of "Elon Musk and Dr. Thomas Weber with the Tesla Roadster and the 10mpg 5000lbs Mercedes ML 63 AMG"?

      There wouldn't even be a justification for the ML 63 AMG. I mean, with its 56inch rims it's useless off road and makes no sense as a workhorse pickup. Cause it's not a pickup. It was only made to cater mankind vanity. And yet, when striking the deal, the Daimler PR department comes up with an all electric Smart which hasn't arrived yet.

      ML 63 AMG doing 10 mpg:

      ML 63 AMG geting 12 mpg EPA combined:
      • 6 Years Ago
      Jay Yarrow has been pretty snarky about Tesla for a while now. Posting meaningless "articles" such as a comparison with Twitter:
      What's the point?

      Certainly, there is some technology involved in the deal.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Tesla did the best they could with the cells available at the time they began their design. Now that they've proven the viability of the electric car market, cell manufacturers (both established players and startups) are responding with more car-appropriate designs. It's no shame on Tesla if they switch from the current design to a better one in the future, any more than if Dell switches from last year's CPU to this year's in their computers. The question is whether anyone can design a better battery *pack* than Tesla has done. Tesla can buy cells from anyone and redesign the pack accordingly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      just to take a stab at it:

      Daimler gets:
      a stake in the most innovative car company on the planet
      access to ev and power controller know-how
      needed tech for its smart cars

      tesla gets:
      more credibility = better access to additional capital
      a customer, smart ed, means more cash-flow
      engineering expertise, Daimler has made a few sedans
      a potential long-term exit for investors, an IPO is preferred but always nice to have a backstop

        • 6 Years Ago
        What Daimler really gets here is access to a car-sized battery pack design that actually works, and won't explode and kill people if it gets damaged in a wreck. That's the hard part of designing an electric car, if you read Tesla's design blogs. There's a lot of electro-mechanical knowledge in the transmission etc., but Daimler presumably already knows a lot about mechanical design. It's the electrical energy storage subsystem that car makers know almost nothing about - they've been sticking a $30 lead-acid brick under the hood for decades and know nothing about batteries. The expertise required to ship that big a battery safely is not something any car maker has today.

        Daimler will design Tesla's battery pack into electric Mercedes cars. Tesla will eventually get more revenue from selling battery packs to other car makers than they do from selling their own cars. They may even spin out the battery pack unit into a separate company eventually.
      • 6 Years Ago


      (Tesla uses 6,831 little laptop batteries in their half ton pack, so it's NOT their technology when compared to the new, more advanced prismatic automotive packs.)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Tesla used those little cells because they had the highest energy density and the lowest cost per Kwh of any battery available back when they started Roadster development. However, they don't make those little cells, and would have no trouble switching to other battery sizes and types if an improved battery with even higher energy density or lower cost comes along.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The "Business Insider" article is a good example of Jeremy Clarkson-type dishonesty. They don't like Tesla, don't like electric cars and try to make Daimler and Tesla look like idiots. Look at the Elon Musk picture they choose: he's scratching his head like he's clueless. Not fair.

      They can hate Musk, Fisker or even Lutz all they want; mass production electric cars will happen, one way or the other.

      - Nick -
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seems like some companies never learn from their mistakes. But they still fresh out of Chrysler loss, so 10% stake is not too much to loose. They survived even dumber plans.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just to expand on roz's list a little:

      Tesla has the highest power to weight electric motor in the world and patents to protect it. Daimler will undoubtedly get manufacturing rights to their design.

      Mercedes-Benz announced about a year ago that they would stop producing gas or diesel powered cars by 2015, and now must fast-track conversion to electric to meet their goal. Tesla's battery pack is already crash certified and legal to ship on airplanes (no small deal). Even though Daimler will be using their Evonix batteries in future models, initial production will use Tesla's.

      Evonix batteries are Lithium Manganese Polymer similar to batteries used in Tata's Indica EV, GM's Volt, and Hyundai's new hybrids. It would be in Tesla's best interest to use this superior design in future models when Evonix gets into full production.

      I definitely see win-win in this deal.
      • 6 Years Ago
      dominates by default?! WTF?!

      "uh yea, they BUILD stuff and people BUY it, but I would hardly call that sales. That's just the exchange of money for goods and services."

      • 6 Years Ago
      Mercedes just paid for the badge, Tesla's own products are still dead in the water. Look for the Tesla-Mercedes branded A-Class EV in the same vain as the McLaren-Mercedes SLR. This is what Dailmer does.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who knows what is in the deal? Business publications do not really understand business. For decades they predicted the demise of Apple Computer and currently just follow web rumors on the Mac sites for their next day pronouncements. They were completely in the dark on the Daimler-Chrysler merger and were shocked when Daimler ended up owning Chrysler. They went from explaining the merger by how attractive the profitable Chrysler was to explaining that Daimler dumped it because it was unprofitable. I don't think they can read a profit and loss statement. I don't think anyone really understands what really happened with the Daimler/Chrysler deal. Yarow's puzzlement may be the first honest expression from a business publication.
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