Further, I have been told Tesla has agreed to purchase part of the land owned by NUMMI, the former joint venture between GM and Toyota, and that it will produce electric cars there. I, myself, spent time at NUMMI and I learned much about working in America there, so I feel a sense of attachment toward the plant. I am extremely happy that the "DNA of car-making" that the NUMMI team developed over 25 years of production there will live on in an industry for the future. I would like to take this opportunity to again thank Mr. Musk and other people at Tesla, the Governor and the government of the State of California, who made this agreement possible.
During a visit here earlier this spring, Mr. Musk kindly gave me an opportunity to drive one of Tesla’s electric vehicles. Not only was I impressed by Tesla’s technology, but I also felt their energy, seeing that they made the vehicle in an extremely short time. Simply put, I felt "a wind –a wind of the future".
While driving, I talked with Mr. Musk, and again, I was strongly moved by his dedication to monozukuri, or Toyota’s approach to "making things".
Through this partnership, by working together with a venture business such as Tesla, Toyota would like to learn from Tesla’s challenging spirit, quick decision-making and flexibility. That is a big part of the reason we decided to partner with Tesla.
Decades ago, Toyota was also born as a venture business, and grew over the years. 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.
Since taking office last June, I have raised the topic of "car-making for the next 100 years" and highlighted the need to decrease dependence on oil.
Through this partnership, Toyota is determined to enhance its environmental technology, and to further participate in the development of new and emerging industries, such as those involving electric vehicles and Smart Grid technologies. By doing so, my strong wish is for us to continue to be a good corporate citizen in the U.S. I also understand this is in sync with the Governor’s long-term environment and energy policy, in which he is showing strong leadership.
Along with our dealers, suppliers and employees, Toyota is determined to continue its car-making efforts in the U.S.
Tesla Motors and Toyota Motor Corporation Intend to Work Jointly on EV Development, TMC to Invest in Tesla
TESLA MOTORS, INC. (Tesla) and TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) 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.
Inside Toyota’s Tesla Play
It’s tough to say which company will benefit most from the new partnership between Japanese automotive giant Toyota Motor and American electric car upstart Tesla Motors.
In a surprise announcement the companies said they will cooperate on the development and production of electric vehicles and components, and that Toyota will buy a $50 million stake in Tesla when it goes public in the near future. Tesla also said it had purchased Toyota’s former NUMMI factory near Silicon Valley.
The partnership undoubtedly boosts the credibility of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla. Despite lots of hype about its battery-powered sports cars, many people have doubted whether Tesla has the capital or know-how to become anything more than a niche manufacturer. "Toyota must have conducted substantial due diligence before making this investment," said John O’Dell, senior editor of GreenCarAdvisor.com.
Toyota, meanwhile, gets to tap into Tesla’s "coolness" factor–a quality sorely missing from the maker of stodgy Camrys and Corollas–and recapture some of its entrepreneurial legacy. "Toyota would like to learn from the challenging spirit, quick decision-making, and flexibility that Tesla has," said President Akio Toyoda, who has said one reason for Toyota’s current quality woes is that the company has grown too big and sluggish. "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."
Odd as it might seem for the world’s leading manufacturer of hybrid vehicles, Toyota also has some catching up to do when it comes to fully electric cars. Both Nissan and General Motors plan to introduce plug-in EVs in the U.S. before the end of this year. Toyota, meanwhile, intends to offer a short-range, electric commuter car and a plug-in Prius hybrid in the U.S. in 2012. By teaming up with Tesla, whose current roadster can go 245 miles on a single charge, Toyota said it will have more options. Like other large automakers, Toyota is required in places like California to offer some vehicles that emit little or no tailpipe pollution.
Perhaps even more important, however, is how the Tesla deal helps Toyota politically.
First, it softens the public relations blow Toyota suffered in California when it closed the NUMMI factory last month. The plant used to be a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors, but Toyota got stuck with it after GM filed for bankruptcy and a judge terminated their contract. Toyota said it could no longer afford to operate the factory alone.
"Toyota obviously made a wise political move there," said Sean McAlinden, chief economist for the Center for Automotive Research.
United Auto Workers President Ronald Gettelfinger applauded the decision to revive NUMMI, which once employed nearly 5,000 people. "Our union’s hope is that this venture will give first hiring preference to former NUMMI employees who are already trained and highly skilled," said Gettelfinger.
Of course, a few thousand electric cars won’t make up for the 400,000 Toyotas and Pontiacs that used to come out of that factory annually under the GM-Toyota joint venture, but it’s a start. "The new Tesla factory will give us plenty of room to grow," said Chief Executive Elon Musk, without indicating whether UAW workers would get first dibs on newly created jobs.
Musk said Tesla will ramp up to about 1,000 jobs when it starts production in 2012.
Toyota’s deal with Tesla ought to play well in Washington, too, where the carmaker is under siege for its handling of sudden acceleration complaints.
U.S. policy makers have been pushing electric-car technology as a way to reduce the nation’s oil use and its dependence on foreign energy sources. By giving a hand up to an American maker of EVs, Toyota is furthering that objective.