Tesla and Mercedes-Benz have a history together. In May of 2009, Mercedes bought a 9% stake in the fledgling Tesla Motors for $50 million. Two months later, it transferred 40% of its Tesla shares to the investment arm of the government of Abu Dhabi, according to CCN.com. Tesla provided battery and electric propulsion technology to Mercedes for its early electric Smart as well as electrified versions of its A Class and B Class cars. In 2014, Mercedes severed its relationship with Tesla and sold the remainder of its shares to an undisclosed buyer for $780 million.
No one can ever say definitively whether the investment by Mercedes in 2009 was the difference between Tesla surviving or not, but it certainly came at a crucial time for the Silicon Valley startup. Since then, Tesla has gone on to accomplish things in the world of electric cars that few outside of Elon Musk and his closest associates ever thought possible. Among other things, it has knocked the mighty Mercedes S-Class off its perch as the best selling large luxury car in the US and in Germany, something that must make Dieter Zetsche and the Daimler board of directors wince every month when the sales numbers are released…read more