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Panasonic Invests $30M in Electric Car Manufacturer Tesla Motors

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The biggest Japanese electronics maker, Panasonic, will acquire nearly a 2% stake in Tesla, at the price of $21.15 per share. Following the announcement of association with Tesla, the shares in Panasonic jumped 3.7% to 1,181 yen on Thursday.

The electronics manufacturer already produces batteries for Tesla vehicles and after the purchase of common stock, the two companies will market together and sell battery packs for electric cars.

Tesla Motors’ Chief Executive Elon Musk stated that: “It is an honor and a powerful endorsement of our technology that Panasonic, the world’s leading battery-cell manufacturer, would choose to invest in and partner with Tesla. [ – ] We believe our partnership with them will enable us to further improve our battery pack while reducing cost.”

Another worldwide known Corporation, Toyota Motors, has previously invested $50 million in the electric car maker and has also signed a $60 million contract to have Tesla assist developing of the electric version of Toyota’s RAV4 crossover vehicle.

The first Tesla Asian showroom opened last month in a stylish neighborhood of Tokyo, with the hope of attracting rich buyers for the deluxe electric car, before broadening its appeal with cheaper models.

Up to now, Tesla has sold only around 1,000 of its deluxe electric cars and at the moment it sells only one vehicle, the Roadster sports car at the price of $109,000, which is favored among celebrities and performance-car enthusiasts. Despite the low sales, the interest in Tesla is high mainly due to the increasing concern about pollution and global warming.

Although, researchers are not quite optimistic about the increase in the sales of electric cars, Nissan Motor Co. expects such vehicles to grow to a 10% of the overall global sales by 2020. Even Naoto Noguchi, President of Panasonic’s battery cell unit, outlined the company’s positive attitude toward building its reputation as a green company.

Tesla presented last month a retooled factory in Fremont, California, the production site for the future generation of electric sedan, the Model S, set to start in 2012 in partnership with Toyota Motor Corp.

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