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  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Tesla Model S  (Source: Motor Trend)
Tesla and Toyota drop a bombshell

The electric automobile market is booming as more and more consumers are looking to go green and to reduce the emissions and the amount of fuel that they consume. There are a number of electric cars and hybrids on the market today with cars like the Prius and the Tesla Roadster.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hinted earlier today that Toyota and Tesla had plans to produce vehicles together. Now, the cat is officially out of the bag.

Toyota is lending a hand to Tesla Motors in the development of future electric vehicles including the next generation Roadster and the upcoming Model S sedan. According to a joint press release, Toyota will help Tesla with the development of "electric vehicles, parts, and production system" and it will also offer engineering support.

The Japanese auto giant will be funneling a relatively paltry -- for Toyota -- $50 million into Tesla through the purchase of common stock. Tesla will also take over the NUMMI manufacturing plant in Fremont, CA that was to be shutdown after GM went bankrupt and Toyota was left without a partner to run the facility.

"I sensed the great potential of Tesla's technology and was impressed by its dedication to monozukuri [Toyota's approach to manufacturing]," said Toyota Motor Corporation 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."

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk -- and reported by Autoblog -- by keeping NUMMI open, 1,000 employees will be brought back into the fold to build new electric vehicles. Those 1,000 employees could pump out roughly 20,000 vehicles in the first year. However, the plant has the capacity to build up to 300,000 vehicles a year and can employ up to 10,000 workers.

"The Tesla Factory effectively leverages an ideal combination of hardcore Silicon Valley engineering talent, traditional automotive engineering talent and the proven Toyota production system," said Musk. "The new Tesla Factory will give us plenty of room to grow."

"We look forward to learning and benefiting from Toyota's legendary engineering, manufacturing, and production expertise," continued Musk.

Tesla couldn't have asked for a better partner in Toyota to develop electric vehicles. Toyota has a vast portfolio of hybrid vehicles and expertise in electric motors and battery design. The company also has very deep pockets and a wealth of knowledgeable engineers.

And this announcement also helps push Toyota's current woes concerning vehicle safety and recalls to the back burner.

With Toyota's backing, we can count on the Model S sedan being on track for its 2012 debut. The Model S will have a base price of $49,900 after a $7,500 federal tax credit, dash to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds, and will have a driving range of roughly 300 miles.

Despite all the positive news surrounding this announcement, there is one big loser in all of this: the town of Downey, California. Tesla was all set to work on an assembly plant in the town until it was wooed away to the Fremont.

"To think of all the time and effort that has been needlessly wasted by Downey due to Tesla misleading us is unconscionable," said Downey Mayor Pro Tem Luis Marquez, according to The Downy Patriot. "The question must now be asked if Tesla plans to reimburse all the costs associated with their underhanded negotiation tactics."

"Mr. Musk gave me his word Tesla would be coming to Downey. Today I learned the same lesson several other cities have learned when dealing with Mr. Musk," complained Councilman Mario Guerra. "I learned just how disingenuous Tesla was in their dealing with Downey and I now have a new appreciation why the public is fed up with corporate America. To think, Downey had planned to sign the lease tomorrow."

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Is it just me?
By lightfoot on 5/21/2010 11:50:15 AM , Rating: 2
...or is Downey Mayor Luis Marquez a big cry baby?

Damn Tesla for doing what is in their best interest, damn Toyota for out negotiating the city of Downey, and heaven forbid that Tesla isn't living up to the terms of a lease that they haven't yet signed!

Boo-hoo! Let us all cry for the town of Downey. Given the mayor's new reputation for bad mouthing companies that think about doing business there I suspect other companies won't be as eager to follow in Tesla's footsteps.

I know I wouldn't.

RE: Is it just me?
By blueboy09 on 5/23/2010 2:22:01 PM , Rating: 2
For your FYI, the mayor is concerned about what everybody is in this country, job recession, and no one is immune from this: not you, not me, nobody, and anybody can be w/o a job at any time. Don't mean to be preachy, but do you know exactly the condition of that city in terms of jobs in Downey? They could be suffering exactly like those in other cities where people are still searching for a job. [end of rant] - BLUEBOY

RE: Is it just me?
By afkrotch on 5/24/2010 11:45:31 PM , Rating: 2
I think bums are immune from a job recession. Also prisoners. Drug dealers. Maybe some prostitutes. You know, the stuff that tends to be immune when anything happens.

RE: Is it just me?
By Ben on 5/24/2010 1:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yes he is.

But we get a lot of those around here, so it's not surprising. Around here, everyone just holds their hand out and cries when no one fills it.

RE: Is it just me?
By Moishe on 5/24/2010 3:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. What a whiner. If Musk/Tesla never agreed in writing, then there is no contract and no reason to pay back anything. This guy lost the negotiation and wants to be reimbursed for the cost of getting to the negotiation.

All I can say is, if you can't afford to get to the event, you shouldn't be there.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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