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Panasonic invests $30 million in Tesla

Tesla is getting an infusion of $30 million from Panasonic, a key supplier, as it gears up its new Fremont factory to start production of its Model S sedan.

Panasonic agreed to buy Tesla common stock for $21.15 per share. It all makes sense — Panasonic is a top battery manufacturer and it’s vying for a piece of the battery game as more and more electric cars are slated to hit the road. The two companies have teamed up in the past to make nickel-based lithium-ion batteries.

Tesla has a history of teaming with high-profile companies, then getting investments from them. Toyota announced in May it would take a $50 million stake in Tesla, and recently agreed to pay the company $60 million for help electrifying the Rav4. Daimler has also used Tesla technology in the past, and put $50 million into the company before selling off 40 percent of its stake.

The money is coming into the company’s coffers right as Tesla is going into high gear. It plans to stop production of the Roadster in 2011, and start making the Model S all-electric sedan in 2012. It’s also planning an SUV model in 2014, thus far referred to as “Model X.”