A Tesla built electric powered Toyota Rav4 will be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc. (TMMC) in Woodstock, Ontario beginning in 2012. A joint development team has agreed that building the vehicle at the Woodstock plant on the same line as the gasoline-powered RAV4 will streamline and simplify the production process and guarantee the highest level of quality control. Officials stated that this is a great example of Toyota’s determination to collaborate with companies with leading edge technology.
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Toyota and Tesla announced on Thursday that they would cooperate in developing electric cars, parts and production.
As part of the partnership, Toyota is investing $50 million in Tesla, which makes a $109,000 battery-powered Roadster and is planning a mass-market electric car. Separately, Tesla will take over the New United Motor Manufacturing plant — widely known by its acronym NUMMI.
The UAW thinks the news that Toyota and Tesla are to hook-up to build electric vehicles at the Fremont, California, plant formerly operated by Toyota and General Motors is “welcome news.”
The plant, which built Toyota’s Corolla and Tacoma vehicles and the Pontiac Vibe for GM, had employed about 4,500 workers represented by the UAW.
But in a move the union and California politicians fought to block, Toyota closed the 25-year-old joint-venture plant on April 1 after concluding that it was not economical to keep it running. NUMMI was the only Toyota plant in the United States with union representation, mainly because of the GM involvement,.
The UAW which is wrapped tightly with GM hopes that this venture will give first hiring preference to former NUMMI employees who are already trained and skilled. But GM dropped its stake in the plant as part of its 2009 bankruptcy…,Union involvement is not a part of “The Toyota Way”.
Toyota and Tesla Motors Inc. will team to produce electric vehicles at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, Calif., a plant that Toyota last year ruled too inefficient to keep open.
Tesla will acquire the now-closed NUMMI property and employ 1,000 people building unspecified electric vehicles in a partnership with the world’s largest automaker, the companies announced Thursday.
Toyota will invest $50 million in the small California-based electric sports car maker in exchange for Tesla’s common stock when the EV company completes its planned initial public offering.
In addition to the NUMMI purchase, the venture will spur a product-development relationship between the automakers.
Under the partners’ scenarios, Tesla will gain from Toyota’s scale, engineering resources and access to its supplier base. Toyota, in turn, will have Tesla’s lean and rapid product development, as well as its electric vehicle technology. Toyota is still using older-tech Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries in its Prius and other hybrids, while Tesla is using newer, Lithium-ion batteries.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company would spend “a couple of hundred million dollars” preparing NUMMI for the project.
That cost will be covered by $465 million in Department of Energy loans that will fund the manufacturing ramp-up, as well as development of the upcoming Model S Sedan.
NUMMI’s costs also will be defrayed by about $20 million in sales tax abatements the state of California is providing Tesla in its capital expenditures, Musk said. NUMMI, a former joint venture between Toyota and General Motors, closed earlier this year amid a storm of criticism from the plant’s UAW work force.
Tesla’s next car, a Model S that will debut in 2012, will account for about 20,000 units a year. The Model S will sell for about $40,000. Until it appears, Tesla is marketing a two-seat electric sports car that retails for more than $100,000. Other models will follow off the platform.
“NUMMI is a massive plant. We’re going to be occupying a little corner,” Musk said. He added that he expects the plant to build “hundreds of thousands” of more affordable electric vehicles in the longer term. “That’s where NUMMI is great. It’s designed for high-volume, efficient production,” Musk said.
He said that eventually the project would account for 10,000 jobs, including positions with suppliers.
Toyota has expressed little interest in electric cars before today. The Japanese automaker has staked considerable research and marketing investment on the popular hybrid-drive vehicles, including the Prius and Hybrid Camry.