Tesla Motors is well on its way to producing the first real electric car for the average person.
Tesla just announced plans to buy NUMMI a giant car factory in Freemont, California, run by Toyota and General Motors as a joint venture for many years. NUMMI which had been producing the Toyota Corolla sedan and the Tacoma truck until April is currently closed.
Tesla plans to manufacture its S series Sedan at NUMMI, the S series Sedan is an electric powered 4 door sedan with a range of 300 miles. Like Tesla’s very successful Roadster the S series is a real car not a souped up golf cart like most electric cars. The S series will go from 0 to 60 MPH in 5.6 seconds. Unlike the Chevy Volt the S series is powered only by electricity, making it the only all electric Sedan on the US market.
Tesla hasn’t announced when the S series will be available but it is taking reservations for the vehicles which will cost $49,000 apiece. Although Tesla’s website says the S series will be available in 2012.
Tesla is currently selling an electric-powered sports car called the Roadster which is manufactured by Lotus in England. Tesla has sold more than 1,000 Roadsters which makes Tesla the most successful electric car company since the 1920s.
In a related deal to the factory purchase Toyota has agreed to buy about $50 million worth of Tesla stock when Tesla CEO Ellon Musk takes the company public. News reports indicate Tesla has filed the paperwork for a public offering but hasn’t announced when it will sell stock.
This deal gives Tesla access to Toyota’s legendary manufacturing expertise and Toyota access to Tesla’s electric car technology. This could help Toyota develop its own line of electric cars and enable Tesla to go into mass production. If Tesla is to succeed it will have to manufacture a whole range of vehicles including vans, trucks and SUVS.
Tesla also has deal with commercial truck maker Freightliner to develop electric powered delivery vans.
Ellon Musk himself has been busy his other company SpaceX is building a space capsule that could take the place of the space shuttle as America’s primary space vehicle. The SpaceX Dragon is one of the spacecraft President Obama mentioned when he cancelled NASA’s program to develop the Orion Space Capsule.
Musk also made his movie debut this May with a cameo appearance in Iron Man II. In the movie Musk talks with his comic book counterpart Tony Stark about developing an electric powered jet. Mr. Musk hasn’t announced any plans to build a real life electric airplane yet, but it sounds like his next project.