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Jump-Starting the E-Car Revolution: New Mercedes Has Tesla Technology Under the Hood

Mercedes and Toyota are bringing new electric cars onto the market that rely on technology from the Californian automaker Tesla. The startup company, whose sports cars already have a cult following in Hollywood, has pioneered the use of laptop batteries in electric autos.

Experts considered the idea of using laptop computer batteries to power a car laughable at best — until the car turned out to actually work, sending shock waves through the industry.

Tesla, a Silicon Valley startup company, first presented its whimsically designed electric sports car in the summer of 2006. The car body was made by Lotus and power for the engine came from 6,831 standard small batteries, bundled together into a high-voltage packet that allowed the car the same bursts of speed as a Porsche.

Now, the same construction has caught on at both Toyota and Daimler, two of the world’s most famous car manufacturers. Both companies hold shares in Tesla and buy batteries and control technology from the Californian startup for small production runs of passenger cars.

Mercedes-Benz will start production this fall on a series of 500 cars in an electric version of its A-Class. The car floor contains two rechargeable Tesla batteries, each constructed from 1,960 individual batteries. These provide the vehicle with enough power to reach speeds of 150 kph (95 mph). The car has a range of about 200 kilometers (125 miles) on a single charge, if driven at a moderate pace.

It seems surprising that Daimler would really need Tesla to accomplish this, …. More

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