Daimler AG on Tuesday acquired an equity stake of nearly 10% in Tesla Motors. In a statement, Daimler said the two companies have already been working closely to integrate Tesla's lithium-ion battery packs and charging electronics into units of the electric Smart car. Smart is owned by Daimler. The partners have said the investment will allow them to collaborate more closely on the development of battery systems, electric drive systems and individual vehicle projects. "Our strategic partnership is an important step to accelerate the commercialisation of electric drives globally," said Dr. Thomas Weber, the Daimler AG board member responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.Prof. Herbert Kohler, vice president E-Drive and Future Mobility at Daimler AG, will take a seat on Tesla’s board of directors."We are looking forward to a strategic cooperation in a number of areas including leveraging Daimler’s engineering, production and supply chain expertise," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "This will accelerate bringing our Tesla Model S to production and ensure that it is a superlative vehicle on all levels."According to the company, Tesla is the only production carmaker selling a highway-capable electric vehicle in North America and Europe. Production of the Tesla S model (which was unveiled in March) will start late in 2011.