Dieter Zetsche, outgoing CEO of Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz and Smart, has said talks regarding electric commercial vehicles "are happening" with Tesla
The two carmakers have been in contact since November, when Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, tweeted: "Maybe interesting to work with Daimler/Mercedes on an electric Sprinter. That’s a great van. We will inquire."
Speaking to Automotive News, Zetsche stated the "outcome [of the talks] is open".
He also revealed Musk became interested in the Sprinter after hearing positive feedback from Tesla technicians, who use the van to get to customers requiring service.
An eSprinter model is due to go on sale in Europe later this year with a 84kW/300Nm electric motor. When equipped with a 41kWh battery pack, the eSprinter has a claimed range of 115km, while the 55kWh model can do up to 150km on a single charge.
Mercedes-Benz once had a significant stake in Tesla. The two companies have also worked together in the past, with the B-Class Electric Drive (below) featuring a Tesla-supplied battery pack.
Zetsche, who is due to hand over the CEO's chair in May, told the trade publication the company is also in discussions with Geely.
Geely took the auto industry by surprise when, in early 2018, its chairman Li Shufu bought a 9.69 per cent stake in the luxury automaker for a reported €7.3 billion ($11.5 billion), instantly making him its largest shareholder ahead of Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund.
According to Zetsche, Daimler may add Geely's electric cars to its China-only ride sharing program.
He also said other projects "which could also take on a bigger dimension" are also being discussed, but didn't provide any further details.