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.
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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
, 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
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
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
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
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.
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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