New York Times contributor blogs about cars and other interesting ways of getting around.
Tesla's Elon Musk on the (video) record, part two
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is nothing if not outspoken. Here, in the second of three interview segments, he talks about prospects for the company's affordable Model S sedan, an alliance with Toyota and more.
Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 04:12 PM
RELATIONSHIPS: Tesla CEO Elon Musk (right) envisions further automaker partnerships like the collaboration with Toyota. Here, Toyota President Akio Toyoda accepts the keys to a special Roadster. (Photo: Koji Sasahara/AP)
I was fortunate enough to sit down recently with Tesla CEO Elon Musk for a long and wide-ranging interview. You can find the first video here
. And here's part two:
Musk is currently in Tokyo
, where he presented Toyota President Akio Toyoda with a bright red Roadster with special paint. Toyota and Tesla are collaborating, and the first results of that — a prototype electric version of the RAV4 — will be on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show beginning next week. I'll be there
, and will welcome a chance to see Tesla's handiwork up close.
Tesla is primarily a carmaker, of course, but it may find that the road to profitability is in supplying its superior battery technology to other companies. In this interview segment, Musk talks about partnerships with other companies and a lot more. His company is allied with Daimler and Toyota, and Musk doesn't rule out a third automaker collaboration.
Meanwhile, Tesla's relationship with battery supplier Panasonic is deepening, with a $30 million investment. Panasonic's goal is to become Tesla's "preferred supplier." I was in Tokyo myself recently and met with Naoto Noguchi, the president of Panasonic's Energy Company. Like Toyoda, he was enthusiastic about his meeting with Musk, and you can see that here
. Whether that meeting helped spur the $30 million remains to be seen.
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