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Tesla Readies Prototypes for Toyota

July 13, 2010

DETROIT - As part of Tesla Motors' cooperative efforts with Toyota, the California-based electric vehicle maker confirmed plans to deliver two EV prototypes based on existing Toyota models this month, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Toyota purchased about 3 percent of Tesla last month after the EV maker's initial public offering. 

The two companies have signed a joint vehicle-development agreement. The first driving prototype, already built, is now undergoing testing, Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes told the Wall Street Journal

Toyota President Akio Toyoda has publicly stated that Tesla's EV battery technology has potential to simplify EV manufacturing and lower costs.

In other Tesla news, the company has hired former Apple and Gap executive George Blankenship to serve as vice president of design and store development. Blankenship will build Tesla's retail strategy and network.

"With George's leadership, I have no doubt Tesla will have the best retail experience in the auto industry as we continue to grow and prepare to launch the Model S," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Blankenship's initial projects will include opening Tesla stores in Tokyo, Japan; Toronto, Canada; and Washington, D.C.

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