Toyota Sells Tesla Stakes, Hopes to Light 2020 Olympic Games


Toyota Motors Corp. sold all the last of its remaining shares in Tesla Inc. by the end of 2016., concluding the two companies’ more than half-decade relationship and cancelling its tie-up with the U.S. luxury automaker to jointly develop electric vehicles.

Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai said the company had sold all of its shares in Tesla as of the end of 2016, part of a regular, periodic review of its investments, after it had initially sold down a portion in 2014.

“Our development partnership with Tesla ended a while ago, and since there has not been any new developments on that front, we decided it was time to sell the remaining stake,” he said.

The two automakers had started their cooperation in 2010, when Toyota purchased 3.15% shares of the California company for $50 million, and in 2012, the collaboration also led to the production of an electric-powered sports utility vehicle, particularly, the RAV4 sport utility vehicle, that sold 2,500 units.

However, after some false starts in their collaboration with Tesla to create an electric RAV4, the heritage Japanese firm has apparently chosen to go it alone in the race to fill U.S. driveways with affordable electric vehicles.

Toyota, which has till recently focused on developing the fuel-cell technology for green vehicles, has set up a team, drawing members from its various group companies to work on electric cars instead. Its fuel-cell powered car Mirai (meaning “future” in Japanese), powered by a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, produces only water from its exhaust pipe. However, hydrogen refuelling stations haven’t appeared around the world, making it difficult to make the technology mainstream.

Toyota’s Flying Cars Hope To Light 2020 Olympic Flame

Toyota recently turned heads as well by announcing its involvement with a very special kind of auto startup, and on Saturday, Toyota supported engineers demonstrated their car which they will be able to light up the Olympic flame for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.

Last month, Toyota agreed to invest 42.5 million yen ($385,000) in “Cartivator”, a start-up group of about 30 engineers, including some young Toyota employees, who started to develop a flying car “SkyDrive” in 2014 with the help of crowdfunding.

Head of Cartivator, Tsubasa Nakamura, said that while the car was still at an early stage of development, the group expects to conduct the first manned-flight by the end of 2018.

During their demonstration, the current test model was able to get off and float to the ground for a few seconds. Nakamura said the design needed more steadiness so the prototype would be able to fly long and high enough to reach the Olympic flame.

Engineers of Cartivator are aiming to make their flying car the world’s smallest electric vehicle, which can be used in small urban areas, and hopes to commercialize the car in 2025, and have a world of flying cars by 2050.

“By 2050 we aim to create a world where anyone can fly in the sky anytime and anywhere,” the team writes. “To realize our vision, a compact flying car is necessary with [vertical] takeoff and landing technology, which do not need roads and runways to lift off.”

Currently, Toyota’s shares steady at ¥5968, down 2.04%. Earlier today, it opened at ¥6,001 with a session high of ¥6,005 and a session low of ¥5,964. The stock has a market capitalization of ¥19.47 trillion, a P/E ratio of 9.96, and a dividend yield of 3.52%.

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