Tesla Model S SedanEnlarge Photo
Electric vehicles are popularly perceived as the front-runner of the alternate fuel competition, but successfully developing EVs has proven to be a difficult and expensive task. To help share the burden and the expertise necessary to get an electric car to market, Japanese auto giant Toyota and Tesla, builder of the high-performance Roadster EV, have announced a new strategic alliance.
The two have announced that they intend to cooperate on the development of electric vehicles, parts, and production system and engineering support. They intend to form a team of specialists to further those efforts. Additionally, Toyota 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.
Toyota and Tesla plan to start building a new generation of electric vehicles at the Japanese automaker’s recently shuttered NUMMI plant in Northern California, just a stone’s throw away from Tesla’s own headquarters near Silicon Valley.
Tesla is expected to use the site for its upcoming Model S sedan due late next year, while Toyota will build a range of all-electric vehicles starting in 2012.
Toyota isn’t the only major automaker Tesla has partnered with in the recent past. Germany’s Daimler has also bought a 10 percent stake in Tesla. Under the agreement Daimler will receive batteries and the technical expertise needed to bring an electric car to market quickly. In exchange, Tesla will get an undisclosed payment from Daimler for the technology, the German firm’s expertise in engineering in building cars and the aforementioned ten percent stake.