Tesla CEO sees future collaboration with Toyota in next 2-3 years

Article by Andrew Christian, on September 10, 2014

Tesla Motors and Toyota could collaborate on another “significant” joint project in two or three years, divulged Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. He added that the joint project would be at higher volumes than the current RAV4 collaboration that is about to end. Tesla disclosed four months ago that an agreement to supply battery packs for the electric RAV4 would end this year.

Toyota holds a 2.4-percent stake in Tesla. According to Musk, there were still no concrete plans for a new vehicle with Toyota, but did not rule out a bigger project than the RAV4. His comments were made during a ceremony to deliver the first Tesla Model S sedans to customers in Japan -- handing over the keys to nine new sedans on the 52nd-floor observatory of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower.

Toyota sold around 2,130 RAV4 EVs in the first eight months of 2014 and expects to sell the remaining units by the end of the year. Once it sells out all the RAV4 EVs, Toyota will no longer have an EV nameplate in its product lineup. The Japanese carmaker also has not disclosed any plans to build a new one.

Toyota remarked in May 2012 that it envisioned producing around 2,500 RAV4 EVs over three years. The partners, however, were non-committal about future project when they announced the end of the RAV4 program in May. Since then, Tesla and Toyota have squabbled over what they see as the drivetrain of the future.

For Toyota, its vision is with hydrogen fuel cells, even dismissing electric vehicles as impractical and could only travel for short distances. Tesla, meanwhile, has become a champion of EVs, and has called fuel cell cars as “fool cells.” Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett said that the Japanese carmaker had “nothing to say” in response to Musk’s latest remarks. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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