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Could Google buy Tesla? Should it?

Telsa ultimately may be acquired by a large global automaker, but a new column suggests a different suitor – Google. Would it be a good idea for Tesla and Google to join forces?

By John VoelckerGuest blogger / September 14, 2013

A Tesla Model S with an electric vehicle charging station is displayed during a media preview day at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) last week.

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters/File

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Speculating on what will happen to Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] can be endlessly entertaining, and the discussions have taken up terabytes of server space already.

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But last week, a Forbes contributor suggested an intriguing notion: Should search giant Google buy Tesla?

The conventional wisdom has been that ultimately, Tesla's backers and board will sell the company to a large global automaker.

Such an acquirer could provide the parts-volume efficiencies and enormous capital resources required to grow production into the hundreds of thousands a year--ultimately perhaps millions.

Of course, Tesla has several times proven the conventional wisdom wrong--which is to say, the company built an astoundingly good car that has been snapped up by many thousand buyers already.

In fact, at its current production rate, the company will have more than 26,000 cars on global roads by December 31.

And Tesla has already surpassed four other fabled automotive startups: Delorean (9,000 cars), Bricklin (2,850 cars), Fisker (2,000 or more cars), and Tucker (a mere 51 cars).

So perhaps the company can remain independent, though the odds are still against it.

But where does Google come in?

It all started with an article last month on TechCrunch that reported carsharing service Uber would buy 2,500 driverless cars from Google.

Rather too many people failed to notice the date--July 25, 2023--and re-reported it as fact. TechCrunch subsequently added "Dispatch From The Future" to the title.

But Forbes writer Chunka Mui suggests that Uber would be dumb to invest huge amounts of capital in its own fleet.

Instead, it should become the centralized dispatch point for driverless taxis of the future.

And who might provide those taxis? Why not Google, with its ground-breaking research into self-driving cars based on its extensive maps of most of the world's roads?

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