Tesla and Toyota to Reopen NUMMI

In what has to be described as a huge piece of good news for Bay Area workers, Tesla – the manufacturer of electric automobiles – is going to partner with Toyota to build electric cars, and they’re going to do it at the recently-closed NUMMI plant in Fremont:

In a deal expected to create hundreds of jobs, Tesla Motors will announce Thursday afternoon that it is teaming up with Toyota to build its all-electric Model S sedan at the shuttered NUMMI plant in Fremont.

The news will be officially announced at a 5 p.m. news conference with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For months, the city of Downey in Los Angeles County has been working with Tesla in the hopes that the automaker would locate its factory there. The Downey City Council was hours away from voting on the terms of a lease for Tesla at the site of Downey Studios, just outside Los Angeles. The plant was expected to initially create up to 1,200 jobs.

But Thursday, Tesla executives finally told Downey city officials that they were going to Fremont instead.

Downey isn’t pleased, but Fremont and many of the workers recently laid off at the NUMMI plant when Toyota closed it will be ecstatic. Not every former NUMMI worker will be rehired (and it has to be said that so far there’s no deal that ANY will be rehired, but those workers are the skilled labor needed to make this plan work), but if the Tesla/Toyota partnership succeeds, then it becomes a possibility that a big portion of that the workforce can be rehired.

It also further disproves the right-wing claims that California is a bad place to do business. From the Siemens plant in Sacramento that builds light rail vehicles for customers in the entire Western Hemisphere to this new Tesla/Toyota plant, it is absolutely clear that California remains an excellent place to locate a business, especially a major manufacturing business.

This is how economic recovery will happen – by embracing green jobs, renewable energy, and the infrastructure and industries needed to make both those things happen.

9 thoughts on “Tesla and Toyota to Reopen NUMMI”

  1. This is interesting but I have mixed feelings.  Tesla is basically a state-operated enterprise at this stage.  The feds have been pouring money into it and Tesla has pretty much never earned any money comparable to the amount they’ve spent.  It will be interesting to see if their sedan even works.  They could end up like all the state-supported car makers in Britain (Lotus, Rover, etc) who all stumbled along ignominiously for decades.

  2. NUMMI’s workforce was UAW-represented; given Elon Musk’s attitude toward union representation, I suspect the workers at the new plant will be non-union.

  3. You’d think with the feds plunking down that kind of cash, at least one of the strings could be card check for the workers, or something.

  4. It’s a sign that Tesla is headed to reality, that Toyota is going to play with them to help make it so, and it means a lot of people will have jobs.

    Even if Tesla itself is not successful, they’re pushing the envelope of technology and their workers will learn what worked and didn’t.

    And if they are successful, I want one!

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