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Daimler and Tesla to Make Electric Vehicles

The German automaker has invested in the company behind the Roadster electric sports car.

Tesla Motors, which makes the Roadster electric sports car, would like to start producing a new, less expensive electric vehicle called the Model S, which it unveiled in March. But it’s having trouble footing the bill for a new manufacturing facility.

Now, as Tesla waits for a possible U.S. government loan, help has arrived from another quarter. The German automaker Daimler just bought 10 percent of the company, establishing a partnership that Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, in a press release, “will accelerate bringing our Tesla Model S to production.”

Tesla and Daimler have been working on an electric version of the Smart Fortwo minicar for a few years now. Prototypes have been tested in London since 2007, and production of up to 1,000 of the cars will start later this year. Tesla hopes to start selling the Model S by late 2011. Already 1,000 people have signed up to buy it.

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