updated 5/20/2010 8:41:53 PM ET 2010-05-21T00:41:53

The heads of Tesla Motors Inc. and Toyota Motors Corp. say both automakers are partnering to build electric cars at a recently shuttered auto plant in the San Francisco Bay area.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda said Thursday that his company is investing $50 million in the joint venture, which will include the development of an electric vehicle together.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the electric carmaker will build its new Model S electric sedan at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., known as Nummi, in Fremont.

The plant, established in 1984 as a joint venture between General Motors Co. and Toyota, shut down last month.

Tesla had been scouting for a site to build its forthcoming Model S electric sedan, which is scheduled to go on sale in 2012. The Model S is slated to sell for $49,900, including federal tax credits, and is designed to travel as far as 300 miles on a three- to five-hour charge.

Tesla makes only the $109,000 Roadster, a two-seater electric sports car that is partially built in California and England. The Roadster can travel 236 miles on a three-and-a-half hour charge.

The Nummi plant, established in 1984 as a joint venture between GM and Toyota, employed 4,700 workers. GM made the Pontiac Vibe there but withdrew from the alliance last year after filing for bankruptcy protection.

Toyota made the Corolla sedan and Tacoma pickup at the plant but said in August that without GM, it could not sustain the factory. The last of nearly 8 million vehicles that moved through the sprawling facility rolled off the lot last month.

The fate of the plant had been unclear. At its closure, plant executives said some employees would stay on while they try to sell off equipment and clean up. Executives also said the plant would try to find a buyer and work with city and state officials to identify the best new use for the site.

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