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Toyota Partners With Tesla To Make Electric Cars 327

Posted by timothy
from the is-a-new-tesla-greener-than-an-existing-hummer? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Toyota just announced that it will invest $50 million in Tesla Motors and the two companies will partner to manufacture electric vehicles to meet California's growing demand for greener cars. Bay Area residents should be especially excited, as this venture is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the San Francisco Bay area, and is sure to be a boon to California's flagging economy. Tesla fans as well should rejoice as the new partnership will allow the EV startup to bring its highly coveted, iconic design to more affordable electric vehicles like the Model S sedan, which will sell for $49,900 and gets 300 miles on a 3- to 5-hour charge."
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Toyota Partners With Tesla To Make Electric Cars

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  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:20AM (#32291586)

    As one of the last eleven people in the country with a job I look forward to buying one!

    • by timeOday (582209)

      As one of the last eleven people in the country with a job I look forward to buying one!

      They'll be built in the bay area [dailyfinance.com], employing thousands of people. This announcement is what jobs recovery is all about.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      You are out of luck, they will only build ten.
  • by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:20AM (#32291588)

    "flagging economy"
    "more affordable"
    "sell for $49,900"

    one of these things is not like the others... ?

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      You left off labor costs in California in general and the Bay Area in particular.

      Wait for the announcement that they're moving production somewhere else with lower labor costs.

      • A part of the Bay Area where people will work for less than those who are currently employed because they'd rather have a job that pays money than have no job and live in an underpass?

        Seriously, the economy is tanked. Expect to take a pay cut, and a lifestyle cut. It's a crying shame, but hey; Nobody has any money at the moment, including Tesla.
        • >>>Expect to take a pay cut, and a lifestyle cut.

          I already cut cable TV during the last recession (2000) and my cellphone from $30 downto the $5 plan. There's not much left to cut, unless I convert my home from 2 stories to 1 story (to cut heating cost). Or demolish it completely and build a PassivHaus (virtually no heating needed).
          .

          >>>including Tesla.

          Well, they now have Toyota's money. I hope this partnership is as profitable as the Toyota-Ford Hybrid partnership turned out to be, an

      • That won't reduce the cost. When Toyota sold Rav4 EVs, which were made in a foreign country with cheap labor, the thing still cost $45000 to purchase..... about double the cost of the gasoline version. The high cost comes from the battery which is 4x larger than the one in a hybrid, and of course 4x as much money.

        The Rav4 EV was also costly to maintain. The battery required replacement every 100,000 miles - that's a cost equal to replacing an engine in a normal car, but about 3 times more frequently.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jeff4747 (256583)

      You missed the part where "more affordable" is a relative measure, and they're comparing it to their roadster with a 6-figure price tag.

      • no no, I understand this point, but in 49 states of this country, people are still much more likely to say "screw it, i'll buy a comparable regular car for $20,00 - $30,000 less"

        I suppose it's ironic that they're basing the plant in the one state that people WILL buy with idealism instead of sense.

        • no no, I understand this point, but in 49 states of this country, people are still much more likely to say "screw it, i'll buy a comparable regular car for $20,00 - $30,000 less"

          I suppose it's ironic that they're basing the plant in the one state that people WILL buy with idealism instead of sense.

          Yes, those fall into two categories...

          (1) The people who dont have the extra $20K-$30K

          (2) The people who DO have the extra money, but cant do math (or dont care about saving money in the long run)

          This is an excellent start. For a couple reasons:

          One, other car companies will soon no longer be able to play the (erroneous) "electric cars cant get decent mileage - buy ours that only gets 50-120 miles on a charge and takes all night to recharge"

          And two, as more get produced, (ie: getting towards mass pro

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by WalksOnDirt (704461)

            While "Big Government" is willing to either give away (like for the EV1 projects) or loan (recent bailout) millions or billions of dollars to the big automakers, they seemed to have no real interest in helping Tesla...

            What? You think the $465 million [wired.com] government loan Tesla got doesn't count as help?

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      It means $5,000 second-hand electric cars in 5-10 years.
      • Not really. AC Propulsion's electric sedans still sell for a high pricepoint, even though they are about 10 years old.

        Of course it's always possible the idea will flop, and Tesla dealers will sell new cars for dirt cheap. I was able to get my Honda Insight for only $12,000 since the dealer had 20 of them collecting dust in his garage. The demand simply wasn't there in 2001.

    • by RMH101 (636144)
      what's the average monthly spend on petrol? what's it cost to charge a full electric car overnight? If you look at monthly payments then the price of the car looks a lot more attractive.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Skarecrow77 (1714214)

        I suspect that this tradeoff will be a lot more attractive in areas of the world where gasoline/petrol is $7 ($us) a gallon, but here where the price is about 1/3 to 1/2 of that, I'm guessing that the loss of freedom and spontanity is not worth meager price savings.

        a lot of people say that "once the US catches up with the rest of the world in gas prices, the demand for hybrid, synthetic (e85), and electric vehicles will shoot up". This is true, the demand will shoot up... but not the means to afford them. g

        • Yes people don't seem to understand how BIG the U.S. is. If I order from amazon.com, it has to travel 2000 miles from California, and there's not much in-between. By car it's a 3 day journey. First the steam engine and now gasoline/diesel-fueled vehicles are what keeps this country connected.

          If the cost doubles, it will have a major impact on our goods, our food, and our business travel. The EU has an advantage, as most of their goods can be shipped via water (for example from Poland to Spain) which i

        • by timeOday (582209)

          I suspect that this tradeoff will be a lot more attractive in areas of the world where gasoline/petrol is $7 ($us) a gallon, but here where the price is about 1/3 to 1/2 of that, I'm guessing that the loss of freedom and spontanity is not worth meager price savings.

          I suspect that the average cost of a gallon of gas here in the US over the next 10 years (the lifetime of a car) will be more like $5/gallon. That would be $25,000 of gasoline for a car that gets 30 mpg and last 150,000 miles.

        • I suspect that this tradeoff will be a lot more attractive in areas of the world where gasoline/petrol is $7 ($us) a gallon, but here where the price is about 1/3 to 1/2 of that, I'm guessing that the loss of freedom and spontanity is not worth meager price savings.

          I disagree. It will also be attractive to those who have decent length commutes. First, the Teslas (fully outfitted) can go 300 miles a charge. That is a lack of spontaneity for very very few people (those who do cross country road trips or very long road trips - it's 5 hours of driving without stopping). Secondly (on the gas price bit), per Scientific American, it costs about 75 cents per gallon equivalent of gas. Even at $3 a gallon in the US, that's a massive savings. I used to drive 40,000 miles a year

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      You tend to lose something once you lose competition. Sometimes it's quality, sometimes it's low-prices.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 2obvious4u (871996)
      Yes you missed something. Comparable cars to the Model S would be BMW's, Audi's, etc. Base model Audi's start at $32,000 [audiusa.com], base model BMW's start at $30,000 [bmwusa.com]. The original Roadster was $110,000 and the sport model is toping $140,000. So yeah the model S is more affordable, especially considering it will save you over $4,000 a year in oil and gas charges. And I'm basing that $4,000 a year off my 35 MPG Corolla, compared to maintenance on a comparable car I'm sure it would be more.

      I've started saving for
      • I think you're the one missing something.

        An $80,000 nissan GT-R is an absolute bargain of a steal -compared- to $300,000 lamborghinis and ferraris... but only when compared to those cars. Your average consumer, especially the ones who are looking for a "more affordable" car in a "flagging economy" are going to laugh at the $80,000 price tag and pick up something else.

        It's the same deal with a $50,000 tesla toyota. Even if it's a bargain compared to a $100,000 tesla, it is NOT a bargain compared to even the

        • by 2obvious4u (871996) on Friday May 21, 2010 @11:53AM (#32294218)
          You're missing a couple of additional points.
          The cost of living in San Francisco is 70% above the national average [payscale.com]. So flagging to them still makes that car affordable.

          Second the model S is competing for the $40,000 - $60,000 Sedan market. Audi has a great filter [audiusa.com] where you can set the price and see all their cars in that price range. That is what the model S is competing against.

          If you keep up with Tesla you know they also are working on a car that would be at or under $30,000 for their next model. They are going from luxury cars down to consumer cars for everyone. They are hoping that early adopters will finance the cars for everyone else. They are after all a tech company turned automaker, not the other way around.
    • by Bemopolis (698691) on Friday May 21, 2010 @12:11PM (#32294454)
      "Drill baby drill"
      "Deep-water oil wells -- NOW with guaranteed blow-out preventers"
      "Shut up hippies"
      "No one could have foreseen this"

      One of these things is not like the others...?
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:24AM (#32291608) Homepage

    Answering the "is-a-new-tesla-greener-than-an-existing-hummer?" in the header:

    Yes, collectively in the long term. Every new electric car put on the road will contribute via networking effects to the development of an infrastructure to support electrics, and every gas-burning car taken off the road will contribute to the dismantling of the infrastructure that drills (and spills) for oil underwater, ships (and slicks) it in tankers around the world, etc. A new car is only manufactured once; it will continue to interact as a part of our environment for years (possibly decades) to come.

    • by H0p313ss (811249) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:45AM (#32291748)

      Answering the "is-a-new-tesla-greener-than-an-existing-hummer?" in the header: Yes...

      Can anyone think of a vehicle that is NOT greener than an existing hummer?

      Apparently even a 100 year old Model T has a better mpg rating [wanttoknow.info] and they seem to last forever.

      • by H0p313ss (811249)
        Arg... I should have found a better reference, that one is crap. Just forget I said anything.
    • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:46AM (#32291752)

      Yes but...

      Didn't I read somewhere that 75% of a car's lifetime energy consumption is during manufacture? So wouldn't it make more sense to rehabilitate existing autos? (And in a perverse way hasn't Cuba been doing that for decades?)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728)

        yes.
        And TopGear looked into a Prius Vs. a BMW M3 and found:
        for a given speed (highway) the M3 had better milage.
        The M3 cost less (energy) to manufacture.
        The M3 batteries were greener to manufacture.
        The Prius NiMh batteries were:
        * Mined in Canada at a dirty mine
        * ore was shipped to China to be smelted
        * raw metal was shipped to Europe to be "foamed"
        * Foamed nickel plates were shipped to Japan to be built into batteries
        * Batteries were shipped to the US for assembly into

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Skarecrow77 (1714214)

          Penn and Teller taught me that the only material that actually makes economic and environmental sense to recycle is aluminum, and the rest (plastic, paper, et al) is all feel-good BS and attempts to create jobs. A good idea that is flawed in practice and doesn't work out as well as one might hope... Just like hybrids.

        • Is there a FUD mod? (Score:5, Informative)

          by guidryp (702488) on Friday May 21, 2010 @10:10AM (#32292834)

          Because that post deserves it. What a load of BS.

          First off Top Gear isn't a source of factual information, they are an entertainment program. They have a massive anti-EV, anti-Hybrid bias. Do you remember Tesla story where they had to push the Tesla off because it ran out of power? Well it didn't actually run out of power, they just did that for dramatic effect. I love watching Top Gear as entertainment, but they are not credible source of anything.

          So who knows what the actual facts of the M3 run where, but still you are just making the information up, because even top gear didn't make those claims.

          They raced a Prius around a track at it's absolute limit, pedal to the metal 100% of the time, and followed it in a M3 which could match the Prius easily at part throttle and under those circumstances and claimed the M3 got better gas mileage. That is possible but given it is Top gear, in no way guaranteed.

          But even Top gear didn't claim that an M3 got better highway MPG.

          The rest of the post is just a reiteration of the debunked Hummer is better than a Prius FUD.

          Pure FUD, no facts. If there isn't a mod for that, there should be.

        • That was a horrible Top Gear. The tests where all favored the BMW.
          You don't drive a Prius like you do a BMW.

          Why don't the hook a trailer to the Prius and compare it to a big rig? The Prius would loose there as well.

          They always make excuses for the big engine. I could easily come up with latest where the Prius beats the fell out of a BMW. say traveling S. on the 605 from City of industry into hunting beach at about 5PM.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday May 21, 2010 @11:00AM (#32293498) Journal

          Not even lose to accurate. Manufacture of a car is about 50,000 miles worth of gasoline for the average vehicle. So if a car lasts 300,000 miles (500,000 for diesels) then we're looking at just 14% of total energy expenditure, not 75%.

          Of course this is why the Cash for Clunkers idea was ridiculous. If people had been required to upgrade to 40mpg or higher, then it would have been good, but going from 20 to 25mpg is nothing. The increased fuel efficiency does NOT make up for the ~50,000 miles worth of manufacturing energy wasted to destroy a perfectly working vehicle.

          It's the equivalent of me going round smashing windows in order to try to boost the economy. (Or starting a war.) It's destruction not production

      • by jcupitt65 (68879) on Friday May 21, 2010 @09:29AM (#32292234)

        It's the other way around, actually. 80 - 90% of a vehicle's lifetime energy use is in driving it around. You can google many versions of this calculation, but here's one from Slate [slate.com].

        You might be remembering the report from a few years ago that claimed a Hummer was more efficient than a Prius, but that's been pretty thoroughly debunked [thecarconnection.com] many times now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          You might be remembering the report from a few years ago that claimed a Hummer was more efficient than a Prius, but that's been pretty thoroughly debunked many times now.

          Unfortunately, it's not actually well-debunked by your link, which claims that the report was well-debunked, but then goes on to quote only that report when giving any lifetime per-mile energy consumption figures. Do you have any useful links with which to debunk the report?

  • by brokeninside (34168) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:25AM (#32291618)
    It'll keep going forward even if they try to put the brakes on.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:28AM (#32291630)

    Tesla, to me, seems to be the same old inefficient car bodies with a bunch of batteries squeezed into it. Batteries where the elements come from strip mining and other nasty things, so the environmental impact is just shifted and reduced a bit, but not a lot.

    OTOH, Aptera, to me, represents a new way of thinking.

    • Aptera isn't a car. It is more like a motorcycle with a bubble around it. At least a Tesla is still a car.
  • (...and running, and running, and running, without stopping...)

    Nissan LEAF has been announced at a price point that makes it cost-competitive with the Prius, which nobody expected. Toyota is now terrified because they bet the farm on hybrids, which have shitty mileage! Yes, I said it, their mileage is shit. You get the same effective mileage or better with a small TDI. In the really real world, 1.8 TDI Golfs get better mileage than any Prius. And that doesn't even get into the Lupo with 1.6 BlueTec diesel... which we can't have here because it won't pass federal crash test requirements.

    Parallel hybrids are a really dumb idea and nobody has brought us a plug-in series hybrid yet. Enter: Nissan LEAF, to actually change the game. Nobody will take people like Aptera seriously without EVs gaining more market traction. Thanks, Ghosn.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      And that doesn't even get into the Lupo with 1.6 BlueTec diesel... which we can't have here because it won't pass federal crash test requirements.

      Cars with small diesel engines aren't exactly a rarity in Europe. You've used the Lupo as an example but every manufacturer has a couple of other cars of similar size which generally get similar mileage.

      Though much of Europe probably pays twice or three times what you pay in the US for fuel...

    • The important part is that now the foucs is on fuel efficienty and not on maximum power.

      And i am still suprised there are no diesel hybrids yet from anyone. Maybe the extra diesel noise would give a strange driving expierence?

      There is one small detail:

      One can buy a running toyta prius 5 years ago, but a nissan leaf is not yet for sale. You cannot compare a previous generation car with a future generations car. Well actually you can because parent poster did just that.

    • by DaFallus (805248)
      The Prius, in my opinion, is one of the ugliest cars in all of creation. Why is it that any sort of hybrid or electric car has to be hideous? Do they have to make it into some sort of hatchback to entice the hipsters? (I fear the day Suburu makes an electric car, the level of smug will be unprecedented) This, however, doesn't ring true for most of Tesla's cars. Hopefully this alliance between Tesla and Toyota will give us sexy electric cars that don't cost a fortune.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      In the really real world, 1.8 TDI Golfs get better mileage than any Prius.

      If you used the same kind of engine and drive system on a Golf-sized vehicle and a Prius-sized vehicle (whether both TDI or both hybrid), with similar performance, you'd expect the Golf sized vehicle to get better gas mileage, because the Golf is a smaller car with less passenger and payload capacity.

      Its like claiming TDI's are crap because the original Honda Insight hybrid got much better gas mileage than the Golf, and wrong for exa

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:57AM (#32291866)

    I like it! First, I've been around Tesla; involved as a third-party with drivetrain development. They are a GREAT group of engineer's with entreuprenurial spirit... Everyone I worked with took ownership with the goal of designing/engineering top quality. Those of you who are not in the automotive world don't have any concept of what goes into building a passenger vehicle nor the cost associated with development of new technologies for this market. Yes with a decent bank-roll I'm guessing that 80% of the /. readers could come up with a functional electric vehicle (batteries, VFD, a couple of seats, 4 tires and a steering wheel), but it is much more than this when you consider safety (MVSS), reliability / durability, comfort (A/C, radio with bluetooth and mp3).... building vehicles and being competitive in that market is challenging. Breaking into that market with a totally new brand, product line, and technology is the most daunting concept I've ever contemplated. $50M is chump change in terms of vehicle development. Consider that Toyota paid $16.4M as a fine for the recall debacle... 33% of what they are investing with Tesla... What I see as important in this is the alignment of the planets; Toyota's manufacturing facility in San Jose (Matrix / Pontiac Vibe) is currently idled; pushing the Tesla sub-$50k will require sales volume... manufacturing volume can not be accomplished without a proper manufacturing facility...

    • Mr. Coward, could you please get yourself (or use your) handle? I am interested in your post and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • price tag (Score:5, Insightful)

    by viridari (1138635) on Friday May 21, 2010 @09:53AM (#32292592)
    Anyone who would describe a US$50K car as "affordable" has more dollars than sense.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751)

      A) It's a luxury sports sedan. Not a compact, not an econocar, not a even just a luxury car. It's equivalent to an Audi A6 or a BMW 3 series. Both of which run into the $40,000s similarly equipped.

      B) Fuel savings for the average driver are estimated to be at around $4000 per year. That means if you keep this puppy for as little as 3 years you've come out ahead compared to similarly equipped vehicles.

      C) "Affordable" in this case is a relative term, relative to the cost of the original Tesla roadster $

  • The challenge is bringing the ability to self-charge vehicles to more people.

    Apartment people are not going to be able to charge their own electric car anytime soon, so they are out of the self-charge market (they’ll have to go to a station). At least until there is some portable battery pack...

    Few people in America have Garages to charge their electric cars.

    More have Street parking in front of their townhouse or single family house.

    Target market=In front of your home street parkers.

    There are two hur

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Few people in America have Garages to charge their electric cars.

      More have Street parking in front of their townhouse or single family house.

      Typical myopia of a city-dweller. Try looking at numbers before talking. Cities in the US haven't changed appreciably in population since the '50s. Nearly all the population migration in the past half century was into suburbs. Where a whopping 52% [pbs.org] of the country now lives. One of the major distinguishing factors of suburbs vs. urban areas is the high availabil

  • The Volt is more akin to a diesel electric locomotive. It costs more but in the long run I think it's the way to go. Time will tell.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Friday May 21, 2010 @10:33AM (#32293156)

    I was trying to figure out what Toyota gets out of this. They have everything they need to build their own EVs. The Prius has electrical components for everything, it is nearly an EV already and they have had the Rav4 EV, and the FCHV test bed platforms. There is nothing in technology that they really need Tesla for.

    But I think I know what they get out of this: ZEV credits in California. 50 Million is pocket change compared to the cost of bringing their own new EV to market. This lets them cover their ZEV requirements in California on the cheap if they don't really believe a full EV is practical (money making) for them at this time.

    The actual California State pages on ZEV program seem to be down for me right now, but this is what I am talking about:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/28/business/fi-zev28 [latimes.com]

    "Under the new standards, passed unanimously, the board will require the largest companies selling cars in the state to produce 7,500 electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles for sale, lease or loan in California from 2012 to 2014 -- down from the 25,000 required in the period under the previous rules.

    In addition, carmakers will be called upon to make about 58,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the same period. The previous regulation, passed in 2003, made no provisions for plug-in hybrids because they were not considered viable at the time."

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Friday May 21, 2010 @11:10AM (#32293652)

    Combining Toyota's "Can't Stop!" technology, to solve Tesla's limited range problems is pure genius!

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