May 21, 2010 (From the CalCars-News archive)
We usually focus on news about plug-in hybrids, while of course celebrating all advances for electrifying transportation, but this is very big news . The recently closed Fremont, CA factory was established as the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. joint venture between GM-Toyota. Its re-opening to build Tesla's second-generation, seven-passenger all-electric sean is a development to celebrate. Its implications extend to the future directions of Toyota and to the position of California as a cleantech leader.
Toyota's partnership with start-up Tesla can help pull Toyota rapidly forward and give it the opportunity to regain some lost momentum. Until now its only steps beyond conventional hybrids have to test a few hundred 13-mile range Plug In Priuses and indicate its intentions some day to sell PHEVs and EVs. And it will help Tesla (which had previously received a $50M investment from Daimler, 40% of which was then sold to an Abu Dhabi investment group), bring to market more rapidly upscale, highly reliable, quality products.
We salute UC Berkeley Prof. Harley Shaiken and State Treasurer Bill Lokyer for their Blue Ribbon Commission that made the case for converting the NUMMI factory to build HEVs and PHEVs -- see the White Paper at http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/press/20100310_nummi.html . Still to be determined are how many of the skilled (and unionized) NUMMI employees will be rehired, and how quickly. And having visited the giant NUMMI plant and met with UAW members and officers http://www.calcars.org/photos-people.html#JC , we would love in the future to be involved in efforts to use part of the facility to retrofit older Toyota vehicles into PHEVs and EVs.
The LA Times has an in-depth story at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-auto-20100521,0,4035370.story , reviewing activity in California from Coda, Fisker and other startups, positioning "California as a center of independent electric automobile research, design and production, an industry that some economists say could become an important driver of economic and development and jobs in the state."
This development can also serve as a powerful rebuttal to the efforts, spearheaded by two Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro, to halt California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), even before it goes into effect next year. They claim it's bad for jobs -- and here we have a high-profile example of "Green Jobs in the Clean Economy." The oil companies expect to spend over $50 million to derail the California program and thereby slow any progress for national legislation on climate change or clean energy. So it's not just a local California issue.We encourage you to learn more and get involved. The coalition of defenders of AB32 have established http://www.stopdirtyenergyprop.com as the starting point for the campaign to defeat the oil companies' proposition.
THE GOVERNOR'S COMMENTS: Here's an excerpt from his press release http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/15219 :
Gov. Schwarzenegger Joins Tesla and Toyota Officials to Announce Historic Toyota-Tesla Partnership and Tesla's Acquisition of NUMMI Facility Toyota to Invest $50 Million in Tesla and Partner to Manufacture Electric Vehicles, Create Over 1,000 Green Jobs
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today joined President and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Motors Elon Musk and Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado to announce an historic new partnership between the automotive companies that will benefit California's economy and environment. Toyota announced it will invest $50 million in Tesla Motors and will partner with Tesla to manufacture electric vehicles (EVs). Additionally, Tesla announced that it will acquire the NUMMI plant in Fremont and begin production of its Model S EV in 2012. Today's action could create more than 1,000 green jobs in California.
"What we are witnessing today is an historic example of California's transition to a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future. We challenged auto companies to innovate, and both Tesla and Toyota stepped up in a big way, not only creating vehicles that reduce emissions and appeal to consumers but also boosting economic growth," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Tesla, just a start-up company a few years ago, will soon employ Californians in green jobs on a large scale at the former NUMMI plant. In fact, Tesla's founding and expansion in California is a direct result of our nation-leading policies that support demand for green products and the companies and people who produce them. I am thrilled with today's announcement and can't wait to see what this partnership brings next."
THE JOINT TESLA/TOYOTA ANNOUNCEMENT is at http://www.teslamotors.com/media/press_room.php?id=2509 and http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/tesla-motors-and-toyota-motor-159048.aspx
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) 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 specialist team 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've felt an infinite possibility about Tesla's technology and 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.