Tesla Moves Up in the World

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Some interesting news is coming out of Tesla these days. Just a few months ago the small automaker signed a development deal with Toyota to jointly develop and produce EVs and related technology. This relationship has so far produced an all-electric RAV4. Now, it's been reported that Panasonic is taking a minority stake in Tesla, investing some $30 million. The two companies are interested in developing the next generation of battery cells for electric cars.

Panasonic also has a battery supply deal with Toyota, so it makes for all three companies to be in this intertwined partnership. As Tesla gathers up some serious partners, they're also making preparations for their upcoming dealer network. They have recently hired George Blankenship, who designed the Apple Store concept. On top of this, he also worked on the retail methods used by both Gap and Microsoft. According to Blankenship, he wants "to move the brand from the city outskirts into the city centre and to start getting people through the doors in big numbers."

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Interesting comment, considering the base price of Tesla's only (so far) model on sale, the Tesla Roadster, is over $100k. Tesla claims they have 3,000 reservations for the upcoming (and cheaper and more practical) Model S sedan. With Blankenship's arrival, it'll be interesting to see if Tesla expands this number.

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