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USA/Europe: Tesla will help develop new electric Mercedes-Benz

Electric car company Tesla Motors Inc. announced that it has a deal to provide the powertrain for a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle, even as it moves closer to manufacturing its own vehicles later this year.

The Palo Alto automaker also said Wednesday that it expected revenue to roughly triple this year, when it will begin selling the Tesla Model S sedan, its first ground-up design. The company is about to launch production of the Model S at its factory in Fremont, Calif.

For the new Mercedes model, Tesla will provide battery packs, motor, gearbox, inverter and all related software. It will start to record sales for the contract starting in the second quarter. Mercedes has not released details about the new vehicle. Tesla has previously provided Daimler with battery packs and chargers for its experiments with electric car production.

As expected, Tesla has continued to pile up losses as it readies to begin producing the Model S, the first vehicle it will make in any volume. Telsa posted a net loss of $81.5 million in the fourth quarter and $254.4 million for the year. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 9% from the same period a year earlier to $39 million. Full-year revenue in 2011 rose 75% to $204 million.

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