The Toyota-Tesla partnership, which Tesla founder Elon Musk called "historic" in 2010, has ended with Toyota saying it sold all stake in the electric carmaker in 2016. Not much was produced from the affair for history to remember.
Popular Mechanics said at the time that the partnership that it would combine a high-volume Toyota with a battery-powered electric powertrain from Tesla.
Bloomberg said the companies jointly developed Toyota RAV4 electric vehicles in Canada in 2011 and sold about 2,500 units over three years despite culture clashes between the two automakers and recalls.
Toyota bought a $50 million stake in Tesla in 2010 as part of the partnership while selling a closed down California factory to Tesla for $42 million, noted Bloomberg. Toyota still had a 1.43 ownership in Tesla in July 2016.
A Toyota spokesman told Bloomberg on Saturday, though, that it has sold its entire stake in Tesla.
Masahiro Akita, a Japanese auto analyst at Credit Suisse, told CNN that the move now establishes Toyota as a rival to Tesla in the electric car business.
"Toyota originally had a strong cutting-edge reputation with its hybrid electric vehicles," Akita said. "But now the market considers them as a follower in the electric vehicle business, and maybe Tesla the leader in terms of brand image or reputation. Now [Toyota] needs to recover its previous position."
CNN said Toyota announced last November that it was creating a special division for electrical car development without mentioning its partnership with Tesla.
"Tesla has developed beyond being a test bed for interesting electric vehicle technologies to becoming a full-fledged competitor of traditional automakers in the electric vehicle space," James Chao, Asia-Pacific managing director for consultancy IHS Automotive, told CNN. "It makes sense that Toyota is distancing themselves from Tesla."
The Japanese auto giant reportedly gave $386,000 to a startup firm called Cartivator last month in hopes to develop a flying car, according to the BBC News. Cartivator had been crowd funding its project, called the SkyDrive, which travel at speeds up to 62 miles per hour and travel about 10 meters off the ground.
"By 2050 we aim to create a world where anyone can fly in the sky anytime and anywhere," the Cartivator team wrote, according to Forbes magazine. "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."
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