When Tesla Motors first tried powering cars with a bundle of laptop batteries, the industry laughed. But now, other automakers are lining up to use the technology. Mercedes plans to produce a new version of its A-Class this fall with two Tesla batteries, each containing about 2,000 individual batteries this fall, Der Spiegel reports, and Toyota has plans to use them as well. Both Toyota and Daimler hold Tesla shares, and are buying the tech straight off the Silicon Valley startup.
Why does a giant like Daimler need help from a pipsqueak like Tesla? Because the more-efficient batteries it’s developing in-house won’t be ready for at least two years. “We have something that’s much more production mature,” says Tesla’s chief technology officer, “and I think we have a much more competitive cost point.” Toyota, meanwhile, probably doesn’t need the tech; Spiegel speculates that it’s hoping for a PR boost in the wake of its sticky accelerator recalls.