Tesla Motors has gained $30 million in a partnership with Panasonic, the companies announced Wednesday. Panasonic manufactures the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for Tesla's electric cars and its investment in Tesla signals a commitment, and belief, in the viability of Tesla's long-term mission to roll out a low-cost electric vehicle for the average American driver.
Tesla's Roadster will cost you six figures, but it was the first step in the company's mission, necessary to gain the attention of influential figures such as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Miley Cyrus. The next step in its mission to bring electric cars to the masses is the Model S sedan, currently being developed to compete with the likes of BMW and Mercedes sedans, with a likely price tag of around $50,000. Learning and streamlining along the way, Tesla's grand scheme is to develop a reasonably-priced, well-equipped zero-emission electric car to compete with Nissan, Mitsubishi, and others getting into the EV game.
Panasonic joins Toyota and Daimler, who have partnered with Tesla for producing electric RAV4 and Smart cars, respectively. Tesla has had its share of financial troubles during the banking crisis of 2008 (losing a potential $100M deal with Goldman Sachs) but has since experienced a turnaround, gaining federal funding in 2009 and taking the company public this year.
It's clear that Tesla has had an impact in electric cars gaining traction. Even GM's then-vice chairman Bob Lutz cited Tesla in 2007 as proof positive of electric cars' feasibility. With several major companies now pushing the technology, electric cars seem poised for mass production.
Would you buy a Tesla Roadster if you could afford it? Is an electric car likely to be your next vehicle? With zero tailpipe emissions, quick acceleration, and relatively low maintenance requirements, do you see any drawbacks of electric cars?
Â©2010 Jim Hathaway for Gather.com