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Toyota, Tesla to revive NUMMI plant

Toyota and Tesla agree to jointly develop electric cars at the NUMMI plant.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Akio Toyoda, and Elon Musk
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Akio Toyoda, and Elon Musk announce the agreement between Tesla and Toyota. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Toyota announced plans today to build an electric vehicle at the recently closed New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, Calif. Tesla will partner with Toyota, providing electric drive technology, and producing its own Model S sedan at the plant.

Toyota and Tesla officials joined California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to announce the plan at Tesla's Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters. Schwarzenegger commented that Toyota and Tesla have been working on the deal for some time; Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said Toyota will learn about electric drive systems from Tesla.

NUMMI, which started life as a joint venture between Toyota and GM producing the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe, was closed in April. Reopening the plant will create 1,000 jobs, according to Schwarzenegger.

Tesla has long intended to not only produce electric cars, but also market its electric drive technology to other automakers. Toyoda said that the production of a Toyota electric vehicle, alongside its current line of hybrids, will bolster Toyota's green credibility.

Tesla changed its previously discussed plans to build the Model S in Downey, Calif., moving production to NUMMI. Production of the Model S will begin in 2012, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested that both companies will use the plant to develop new models in parallel with the Model S.