Tesla and Toyota will become partners to produce electric vehicles

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 25, 2010

A plant in Fremont, Calif., that was closed last year because it was too inefficient will now be used by partners, Toyota Motor Corp. and Tesla Motors Inc., to make electric vehicles. The New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. facility will be acquired by Tesla and will be manned by 1,000 workers. The two companies made the announcement in Palo Alto, Calif.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said that Tesla's entrepreneurial spirit is admirable -- a quality that he hopes all Toyota employees will take on, considering that Toyota began as a venture business decades ago. He also said that he anticipates that Toyota will learn quick decision-making and flexibility from the venture.

To prepare NUMMI, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the company will spend a couple of hundred million dollars.

Earlier this year, NUMMI (a former joint venture between Toyota and General Motors) shut down amid heavy criticism from the UAW work force. Musk revealed that the negotiations to obtain the plant had concluded earlier this week.

The facility will produce about 20,000 units a year for the Model S, Tesla's next model that will debut in 2012. But Musk said that the other models that will follow will be based on the Model S platform. Toyota will invest $50 million in Tesla in exchange for the electric carmaker's common stock when it completes its planned initial public offering.

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