Reports indicate that Toyota has reduced its stake in electric car maker, Tesla. According to Bloomberg the auto manufacturing giant initially held a 3.15% stake in Tesla which had been acquired in 2010. But last year in July the stake had been reduced to 1.43%. In December the Japanese automaker sold its entire stake.
This comes amidst confirmation from Toyota that it will begin working on its own electric vehicles. Previously, Toyota had bet its future on hydrogen-powered cars but with hydrogen refueling stations failing to spring up all over the world, fuel-cell technology has failed to go mainstream. Already the giant car manufacturer has produced Mirai, which is powered by fuel cells and which emits just water from the exhaust pipe. Mirai is the Japanese name for future.
Other than venturing into making electric cars, Toyota is also working on a flying car in collaboration with Cartivator Resource management, a Japanese startup. Toyota has invested about $385,000 in the startup. Already, a prototype of the flying car, Sky Drive, has been tested.
Based in Aichi Prefecture in Toyota City, Cartivator is on a mission to turn what was once the stuff of science fiction into a reality.
“We aim to build a prototype, establish theory of flight control, as well as form alliances with major corporations to make mass production of the flying car a reality,” a page on Cartivator’s website reads.
Toyota hopes that the flying car will be ready before the start of the 2020 Summer Games that will be held in Tokyo, Japan. It is hoped that the flying car will be used to light the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony of the games. Tsubasa Nakamura, the head of Cartivator, disclosed that even though the development of the car was still in an early phase, the initial manned flight is expected to take place before the end of next year.
In a demonstration the prototype was able to lift off and even float on the ground for a couple of minutes. But Nakamura has acknowledged that the design requires additional stability to ensure the ability of the prototype to fly along as well as reach a level high enough so that it can get to the Olympic flame. The car is expected to be commercialized by 2025 and the Cartivator engineers aim to make it the smallest electric vehicle in the world.