Tesla Motors announced that it has reached a $60 million deal with Toyota Motor Corp, in order to develop the powertrain for an electric version of the RAV4 SUV.
For those who don’t know, back in July, Tesla and Toyota announced that plans to work jointly on an electric version of the RAV4. The Toyota RAV4 is one of the top-selling cars in its segment in the United States but also on the European market.
According to Tesla, the services agreement with Toyota includes the development of a battery, power electronics module, motor, transmission and software for the RAV4. In June, Toyota became the key investor in Tesla, when it bought a $50 million stake in the electric car manufacturer in a private placement.
Toyota U.S.A., Inc. revealed at a conference during the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show its Toyota RAV4 EV Concept. The company disclosed that only 35 units will be made for this second-generation vehicle. They will be part of the demonstration and evaluation program that takes place through 2011.
The goal is that a fully-engineered version will be released in the market in 2012. This fully-engineered vehicle is expected to have a 100-mile range in actual road driving regardless of the condition and climate.
TMS president and chief operating officer Jim Lentz shared that when it was decided to work on the RAV4 EV, President Akio Toyoda revealed that he wanted to have a new development model that would integrate the quick-action and streamlined approach of Tesla.
Lentz added that the result combines the decision and approval process plus development style that engineers are calling "fast and flexible." The collaboration was led by Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America (TEMA) Technical Center based in Michigan.
With the use of this new model, the development time was reduced without the need to compromise any of the product quality. This was achieved by the team by handling this particular project in the same way that a usual mid-cycle "major-minor" product change is performed.
The team for instance started with the current RAV4 after which they put in a major powertrain option plus some small feature changes and even cosmetic ones. Tesla on the other hand was the one who built and supplied the battery including other related parts.
Tesla made sure that it would be able to meet the specifications set by Toyota in relation to durability, performance, and quality. Toyota meanwhile was the one in-charge of developing and manufacturing leadership plus it was the one responsible for making sure that the powertrain was seamlessly integrated.