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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Breaking News: Toyota to "Resurrect" NUMMI with Tesla Motors

Toyota and Tesla to partner on EV production in California

Source: Autoblog

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda held a joint press in Palo Alto, California to announce that the two companies would be collaborating on electric vehicle development and production, with Tesla will taking over the recently closed NUMMI factory in Fremont, CA to produce the Model S sedan.

Toyota will invest $50 million for a private placement of Tesla common stock and the state of California will provide a sales tax abatement to Tesla for capital equipment expenditures to tool up the plant. Musk estimated that the abatement will amount to about $20 million over the next several years.

According to Musk, production of the Model S will bring about 1,000 employees back to the NUMMI plant to produce about 20,000 cars a year at first, and as the facility expands – possibly to include the production of more models – it could employ up to 10,000 workers. Musk revealed that some employees have already been rehired, but was non-committal on the subject of union representation. NUMMI was the only Toyota plant in North America that was unionized.

An additional benefit to Tesla from this deal is that it will be able to take advantage of the Toyota production system and possibly some of Toyota's suppliers. That's sure to help Tesla avoid many of the logistical problems that hampered early Roadster production and costs.

Production of the Model S is still planned to start in 2012 and Musk said more advanced prototypes would be revealed later this year. No decisions have been made yet about additional vehicles to be produced at the plant which previously had a capacity of more than 300,000 vehicles a year.

Official release from Toyota below:

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

Source: Toyota News

May 20, 2010 - 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 team of specialists 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 sensed the great potential of Tesla’s technology and was impressed by 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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