FRANKFURT – Daimler AG has signed a deal with Robert Bosch GmbH to develop and build electric motors for battery-powered versions of Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars, the companies said Thursday. The joint venture will be called EM-motive GmbH.
Production is scheduled to begin at the start of 2012 and the motor will debut in the new-generation Smart ForTwo full-electric minicar, which goes on sale next year.
"This alliance is an investment in securing the future of the European automotive industry. It is also a perfect addition to our portfolio of electric motors for all our customers," Bosch board member Wolf-Henning Scheider said in a statement.
Bosch will be responsible for sales of the electric motors to third parties.
The new company is expected to employ about 100 people in Stuttgart and Hildesheim, Germany, where Bosch currently manufactures electric motors.
Automakers are racing to introduce electric vehicles to meet tighter emissions regulations and gain an edge with customers concerned about the environment. BMW AG, which is developing its own electric motors, created the "i" sub-brand for its electric vehicles and aims to produce the unit's first model, the i3 battery-powered city car, in 2013.
The Daimler-Bosch joint venture is expected to produce more than 1 million electric motors by 2020, the companies said, adding that the deal is still subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities.