A-Class Mercedes: Goodbye fuel cell, hello Tesla battery?

We recently confirmed the rumor that, yes, Mercedes is planning on building an electric car or two and now some of the details are starting to be firmed up. In an interview with German business daily, WirtschaftsWoche, Thomas Weber, a Mercedes board member responsible for research and vehicle development, let it be known that the company is building what was originally meant to be the fuel cell-powered A-Class (and possibly B-Class) as an all-electric model. Because of its "sandwich" construction and pre-existing electric drivetrain, these cars should be the first to join the electric Smart in the e-Mercedes lineup.

Another magazine, Automobilwoche, as well as reporting 2010 as the year of the e-Mercedes arrival, states that the supplier of the battery for the cars would be none other than the American firm Tesla Motors. The source of their information was not revealed and since this has not been officially stated by either company, it's still somewhat speculative. We know from talking with Tesla's Elon Musk that something is going on between them and Mercedes and it's definitely not a motor for the Whitestar, since Musk made it clear that Tesla products will remain gasoline-free. We also know that Daimler claims to have solved the thermal issues associated with lithium ion batteries of a certain chemistry by integrating battery cooling systems with that of the car. Then again, Continental has already been named a battery supplier for the Mercedes S 400 hybrid. If you care to enter into the supplier speculation sweepstakes, hit us up in the comments section.

Source: WirtschaftsWoche / Wall Street Journal]

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