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Tesla Has At Least One Smart Deal: Daimler

It’s official: Tesla Motors plans to supply battery packs and chargers for the 1,000 electric Smart cars Daimler AG (s DAI) has slated for release in the U.S. in 2010. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk announced the deal today at the Detroit Auto Show, confirming rumors that the two companies were getting cozy.


The Financial Times reported last summer that Tesla would supply batteries for the 150 cars Daimler planned to deploy in Berlin — and possibly the expanded test fleet of up to 1,000 cars in several European cities. But Musk told the Detroit Free Press today that the company’s battery technology will be used in the U.S. rollout.

“If the 1,000 vehicle fleet makes sense and the economics are compelling, that will expand to tens of thousands of vehicles per year,” Musk said. This represents the first outside supply agreement for the as-yet unprofitable startup, which has cited its powertrain supply unit as a profitable core.