Toyota Buys $50 Million Stake In Tesla Motors

In an interesting and somewhat unexpected move Tesla and Toyota today jointly announced that Toyota will be taking a $50 million stake in the electric vehicle manufacturer which will equate to about 2% of the company. Daimler (NYSE:DAI) bought into Tesla last year and acquired a larger 10% stake in the company, it would now seem that Tesla is working hand in hand with two of the biggest automakers and has, by and large, established itself as the number one electric vehicle and electric vehicle technology company in the world.

Toyota (NYSE: TM) will join with Tesla Motors on the development of future electric vehicles and electric vehicle technologies, this is the same fundamental philosophy that Daimler had when they took a stake in Tesla so it’ll be interesting to see how Tesla handles working on proprietary technology development with two competing automakers.

Tesla will also take over Toyota’s NUMMI plant in California, a factory capable of producing 20,000 vehicles per year, and will aim to begin production of electric vehicles in 2012. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was quoted as saying “We’re going to occupying a little corner of NUMMI, but there’s a lot of room for growth, and long-term we intend to use the full capacity of NUMMI.”. It is widely presumed that Tesla will produce the Model S sedan at NUMMI as well as the yet to be officially announced, cheaper Tesla models that Elon Musk eluded to last year, if Tesla do manage to utilise the full capacity of NUMMI they would be undoubtably producing or co-producing some Toyota badged electric cars designed to compete with the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and Coda Sedan.

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Via Jalopnik

Official Press Release

Tesla Motors and Toyota Motor Corporation Intend to Work Jointly on EV Development, TMC to Invest in Tesla

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A. – TESLA MOTORS, INC. (Tesla) and TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) today announced that they intend to cooperate on the development of electric vehicles, parts, and production system and engineering support.

The two companies intend to form a specialist team to further those efforts. TMC has agreed to purchase $50 million of Tesla’s common stock issued in a private placement to close immediately subsequent to the closing of Tesla’s currently planned initial public offering.

“I’ve felt an infinite possibility about Tesla’s technology and its dedication to monozukuri (Toyota’s approach to manufacturing),” said TMC President Akio Toyoda. “Through this partnership, by working together with a venture business such as Tesla, Toyota would like to learn from the challenging spirit, quick decision-making, and flexibility that Tesla has. Decades ago, Toyota was also born as a venture business. By partnering with Tesla, my hope is that all Toyota employees will recall that ‘venture business spirit,’ and take on the challenges of the future.”

“Toyota is a company founded on innovation, quality, and commitment to sustainable mobility. It is an honor and a powerful endorsement of our technology that Toyota would choose to invest in and partner with Tesla,” said Tesla CEO and cofounder Elon Musk. “We look forward to learning and benefiting from Toyota’s legendary engineering, manufacturing, and production expertise.”

TMC has, since its foundation in 1937, operated under the philosophy of “contributing to the society through the manufacture of automobiles,” and made cars that satisfy its many customers around the world. TMC introduced the first-generation Prius hybrid vehicle in 1997, and produced approximately 2.5 million hybrids in the twelve years since. Late last year, TMC started lease of Prius Plug-in Hybrids, which can be charged using an external power source such as a household electric outlet. The company also plans to introduce EVs into the market by 2012.

Tesla’s goal is to produce increasingly affordable electric cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. Palo Alto, CA-based Tesla has delivered more than 1000 Roadsters to customers in North America, Europe and Asia. Tesla designs and manufactures EVs and EV powertrain components. It is currently the only automaker in the U.S. that builds and sells highway-capable EVs in serial production. The Tesla Roadster accelerates faster than most sports cars yet produces no emissions. Tesla service rangers make house calls to service Roadsters.

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I just hope this means we get an affordable Tesla that looks like the Model S…

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