Friday, May 21, 2010

What the Tesla-Toyota Partnership Means, and Doesn�"t Mean

News that Tesla and Toyota will work together represents a giant step forward in the development of sustainable electric-drive automobiles. In recent years, the two car companies have occupied the opposite ends of the spectrum: the ultra-conservative corporate behemoth that has dominated green car sales for nearly a decade�and the ultra-adventurous start-up with big ambitions.

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

Toyota will buy $50 million of Tesla�"s common stock, but more importantly it will be purchasing the company�"s sense of daring and adventure. �SWhen we look at Tesla�"s venture business spirit, we recall how Toyota started back in the day,⬝ said Jana Hartline, Toyota�"s environmental communications manager, in an interview with �SToyota would like to learn from the challenging spirit, quick decision-making, and flexibility that Tesla has,⬝ Toyota President Akio Toyoda, said in a press release.

What does Tesla get out of the deal? Simple: more legitimacy. It was almost exactly one year ago today that Daimler took an equity stake of 10 percent in Tesla. That was a big vote of confidence for Tesla, especially during a time when it had delivered very few vehicles.

Toyota FT-EV

Toyota FT-EV electric concept.

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