Toyota to buy Tesla?

First clue …

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Touch the image above to read the full article.

The above article recounts that Toyota already owns shares in Tesla and sold Tesla the plant where the Model S is made. Furthermore Tesla provides the entire electric drivetrain for the Rav4 EV, a “compliance car” sold only in California to satisfy regulations requiring auto manufactures sell a certain number of zero-emission vehicles. Tesla expects to finish supplying Toyota this year.

Without a zero-emissions vehicle in the mix, Toyota will not be allowed to sell cars in California. What will Toyota replace the Rav4 EV with?

Connect the dots

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Touch the map above go to the Tesla Supercharger site.

Tesla will have a nationwide fast-charging infrastructure in place by 2016, something no one else has. Tesla owners will be able to travel coast to coast to coast, quickly recharging at conveniently located Supercharger locations. Currently Superchargers are free to Tesla owners. Access to the Tesla Superchargers would be a major coup for Toyota.

Dealer Opposition

Tesla has had an ongoing battle with automobile dealer groups who object to Tesla’s direct-to-customer sales strategy. Toyota has a well established network of dealers to sell Tesla’s cars.

You read it here first

Toyota will buy Tesla. Not the entire company (not immediately at any rate), but rather the car formerly known as the Model E.

Tesla will build two versions of the low end car: one badged as a Tesla, the other badged as a Toyota. This kind of thing is done all the time: Toyota Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ, Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe, etc. Toyota might even begin selling them before Tesla does.

Think about it. It is a win-win-win solution. Toyota gets a new compliance car and access to the Supercharger infrastructure. Tesla gets a guaranteed large volume order for its new car and access to the Toyota dealer and service network. Everyone wins: Tesla, Toyota, and the consumer.

This is of course pure conjecture on my part, but remember if – I mean, when – it happens … you read it here first.

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