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Friday, May 21, 2010

Toyota and Tesla Partner to Build Electric Cars Near San Francisco

by Jerry James Stone
Schwarzenegger Leaks Tesla Toyota Partnership Photo

Tesla Motors, Inc and Toyota Motor Corp have officially announced a partnership in next-gen technology for electric cars that begins with a $50 million investment from Toyota. The collaboration involves not just electric cars but also parts, production and engineering support.

Governor Schwarzenegger had first leaked the news during a visit to Google's headquarters in Mountain View. It's safe to say that this was not good news for everyone. Telsa had been in talks to build their electric car plant in a former NASA manufacturing complex located in Downey City.

Toyota Tesla Partner Says Schwarzenegger Photo

"We are shocked, upset and betrayed. We can see why the public is so upset with corporate America," said Downey City Councilman Mario Guerra, adding that Tesla had told the city it would sign the lease for the Downey plant on Friday.

The thousand-plus jobs the operation is expected to create will remain closer to Tesla's home-base of San Carlos, CA. The automakers are re-opening the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMM, assembly line across the San Francisco Bay in Fremont. NUMMI--which primarily existed as a joint effort between Toyota and General Motors--had officially stopped operating in April when GM ended the 25-year partnership. A decision that cost about 4,700 workers their jobs.

No wonder NUMMI is trending on Twitter.

The official announcement came was made at 5:00 pm today when Schwarzenegger joined President and CEO of Toyota Akio Toyoda, Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla Elon Musk to announce the historic partnership. "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 Musk.

Governor Schwarzenegger added that "We love our cars in California and California loves cars! But we also love our environment and the coastline." He went on to explain that "This all happened because we created tax incentives for this company and this partnership," Schwarzenegger said.

The first car to roll of the production line will be Tesla's Model S electric sedan which costs around $57,400. While Tesla will still be late to the game when compared to the LEAF or the Volt, this amps up the company's reputation ten-fold. For a recent study just named Toyota as one of the top three companies consumers would buy an EV from.

Musk also noted that several former employees of the NUMMI plant have already been rehired.

More on Tesla Motors
Motor Trend: 2010 Tesla Roadster Sport vs. 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder (Video)
Tesla to Start Leasing Electric Roadster, Roadster Sport, Model S

More on Electric Cars
LEAF Pre-Orders Exceed Production Capacity Months Before Launch
Norwegian Electric Car Maker Think Raises $40 Million to Bring Its EVs to U.S.