Panasonic Invests $30 Million in Tesla

By Cindy Waxer November 04, 2010

Panasonic Corp., is jumping on the green car bandwagon, investing $30 million in Tesla Motors Inc., the U.S. maker of electric sports cars. The company will acquire about a 2 percent stake in Tesla, purchasing Tesla common stock at $21.15 per share. The investment builds upon a multi-year collaboration of the two companies to accelerate the market expansion of the electric vehicle.

Toyota Motor Corp., is another company that invested $50 million in Tesla, in addition to inking a $60 million deal to have Tesla help develop an electric version of Toyota’s RAV4 crossover vehicle.

"Panasonic aims to be the number one green innovation company in the electronics Industry by 2018, the 100th anniversary of our founding," said Naoto Noguchi, president of Energy Company, a unit of Panasonic responsible for the battery cell business. "Our sophisticated lithium-ion battery cell technology, combined with Tesla's market-leading EV powertrain technology, helps us fulfill this goal by promoting sustainable mobility. We are proud to strengthen our relationship with Tesla Motors."

If consumer demand for electric vehicles is any indication, Panasonic has made a wise decision to expand its relationship with Tesla. Before even hitting the showroom floor, Nissan managed to gather more than 20,000 orders for its all-electric Leaf. The two-seater electric vehicle is set for delivery in Japan and the U.S. in December, and next year in Europe. Consumers will have to have to wait another year to place their order for the zero-emission car.

Nevertheless, global acceptance of the electric car will take some time. This week, the London Financial Times reported that Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, authorized deep cuts to an electric cars scheme which he launched last year, promising to make London the “electric car capital of the world.” Johnson’s plan entailed introducing 100,000 electric cars and building 25,000 charging points.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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