Daimler, Renault Already Competing on Electric Car Battery Plans

Both companies aiming to be world leaders in electric vehicles, despite swapping shares.

Published: 16-Apr-2010

Daimler AG Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche says the German company will become a leading manufacturer of electric-car batteries. Trouble is, his new business partner Renault SA CEO Carlos Ghosn has the same idea.

Both chiefs have vowed to produce the best power pack as they begin working together to jointly develop electric cars, creating a potential conflict in their budding cooperation before it even starts.

Daimler and Renault, which swapped 3.1 percent stakes last week to seal a vehicle and engine development cooperation, left batteries out of the deal. Each side will instead vie for the right to install their power packs in electric-powered Smart and Twingo cars they will jointly develop by 2013.

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The range limitations of most early electric cars will matter less in tightly packed urban areas, where the daily driving distance is likely to be much shorter than in the suburbs or rural areas.

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