Tesla Motors, the California-based electric automaker that seemed ready to overthrow the auto industry, has received another vote of no confidence, with Toyota divesting some of the shares it owns in the US carmaker.
The move, revealed today by the largest automaker in the world, follows closely the one made by Daimler – the parent company of Mercedes-Benz – which sold off for around $780 million its 4% stake in Tesla. Daimler said at the time that cooperation between the two firms would go on unchanged – Tesla provides battery technology and electric motors for the Smart EV and Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV models. Toyota – which recently concluded an agreement to have the US automaker do the same for a California only electric version of the Rav4 SUV said it was still assessing possible cooperation with Tesla.
Back in May 2010, Toyota took a $50 million (31.18 million pounds) investment into the Palo Alto-based startup that was ready to go through its initial public offering in June. The stake would have amounted to 2.5% then, but further capital increases could have diluted it.
The reasons behind the Daimler and Toyota moves could be the following: cooperation is easy and an investment is not necessary, the companies could soon become rivals in the extending segment of luxury electric vehicles, a private and close deal to have access to proprietary technology is not an option today because a few months ago Tesla opened up and made all its patents available to competing carmakers.