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TheStreet Open House

Tesla and Toyota: Electric Company

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tesla Motors (TSLA), the Palo Alto, Calif., electric car company that was taken public Jun. 29, says it will have two rechargeable electric auto prototypes ready for Toyota (TM) this month as a first step in their partnership, according to a Bloomberg report.

JB Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer, tells Bloomberg that both prototypes are modified Toyota vehicles.

Toyota announced in May that it would pour $50 million into Tesla so they could develop electric cars together. Straubel says it's "exciting" to see the initial results of Toyota's investment.

John O'Dell, a researcher at Edmunds.com tells Bloomberg that Tesla is currently the only one in the market for electronic controls for battery vehicles and therefore ahead of the game in this area. This type of know-how is becomingly increasingly important as automakers such as Toyota face more and more pressure to develop energy-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles in markets around the world.

Still, since its IPO, shares of Tesla stock have fallen about 10%. This was expected by many in the investment community, who predicted that the initial excitement would be short lived.

The company has only one, very high-end car on the market right now -- the $100,000 electric Roadster sports car. By 2012, it hopes to begin delivering its $49,900 Model-S car, which currently only has one prototype. It will be up against a lot of competition by the time it arrives.

The Nissan (NSANY) Leaf and GM's Chevy Volt are among the competition that will be getting a headstart ahead of the Model-S. They're expected to arrive in the market this year.

Tesla's IPO has been frequently compared with that of lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems ( AONE) which debuted on the NASDAQ after much anticipation last September, but has fallen about 56% since.

Shares of Tesla are down 1.2% to $17.19, while A123 stock has fallen 4.6% to $8.88. Meanwhile, Toyota stock is up 0.3% to $71.30. Nissan stock has risen about 1% to $14.71.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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