Toyota hoping to still collaborate with Tesla on battery technology

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 26, 2014

Toyota Motor Corp. is hoping to still collaborate with Tesla Motors Inc. on battery technology after their battery-supply deal comes to an end this year, according to Osamu Nagata, president and chief executive of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America.

He remarked that Tesla has “quite a clear business strategy” for developing a better battery, noting that carmakers and suppliers need to work on developing better batteries. Toyota has disclosed that it will terminate an agreement announced two years ago that entails Tesla supplying 2,600 battery packs for the electric variant of the Toyota RAV4 over three years.

Toyota holds a 2.5-percent stake in Tesla. Nagata, meanwhile, remarked that he hopes Toyota can show the “very strong capabilities” of fuel cell vehicles in order to convince more consumers of the potential and possibilities of the units.

Nagata, however, could not say if fuel-cell technology is better than EV technology. Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota’s North American region, has revealed that the carmaker is shifting its focus from longer-range, battery EVs to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, saying that the Japanese company perceives battery-electric vehicles as viable only in limited situations like for traveling shorter distances and for use on large corporate campuses.

Lentz remarked that Toyota views that hybrids and plug-in hybrids as well as fuel cells are better alternatives to battery EVs when it comes to long-range travel.

Topics: toyota, tesla, technology

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