Toyota Motor Corp and Tesla Motors have formed a joint project where they would be developing battery powered prototype models. Both the company are well known for their Electric car development technology and they are now going to create crossovers between the Toyota RAV$ ad the Lexus RX….
Tesla Motors, the manufacturers of the all electric Tesla Roadster have jointly announced an agreement with Toyota Motors to begin the development of an electric version of the Toyota RAV4. This signing follows an earlier agreement in May to cooperate on the development of electric vehicles, parts, and production system and engineering support. Toyota would like to begin marketing the electric vehicles in the United States in 2012. This is also the same year that Tesla will begin deliveries of its electric “S” car luxury sedan.
Tesla will make a fleet of prototypes which will combine the Tesla powertrain with the Toyota RAV4. The first prototype has already been built and is currently undergoing testing with the rest of the prototypes slated to be delivered to Toyota within this year.
Basically, for a net investment of $8 million, Toyota has gotten itself a ready-made EV program,” said Aaron Bragman, an auto industry analyst for IHS Global Insight. “Toyota is behind the ball when it comes to fully electric vehicles. This is them playing some serious catch-up and doing it for relatively little investment.
Both companies also get some good PR when they need it. Toyota’s been hit by yet another round of recalls, and Tesla’s stock price fell below its initial offering price earlier this month. The company’s stock rose almost 4 percent today on the announcement.
In the partnership agreement formed between Telsa and Toyota in May 2010, Telsa got rights over Toyota’s NUMMI plant in California. This is where Telsa plans to build its Model S and other vehicles. Toyota on its part bought a $50 million stake in the electric car producer.
What’s more, Telsa says that it’s already produced one prototype vehicle and plans to deliver a fleet of them to Toyota for evaluation “within this year,” and that Toyota plans to bring the vehicle to market sometime in 2012. Details are still a bit light beyond that (including any word of a price), but it certainly sounds like this is just the beginning of more vehicles to result from the partnership .
The number of highway capable EVs is currently very limited with the Tesla Roadster currently being the only one produced in the United States. This situation will begin to change soon with the introduction of the Nissan Leaf to American markets later this year, and the looming roll-out of the Chevrolet Volt in perhaps 2011. Ford is also working on an all electric to be introduced in 2012.