By on July 20, 2011

Tesla will begin supplying Toyota with components for its electric RAV4 a year earlier than previously planned, reports Bloomberg, a move that will have Toyota paying $100m for the drivetrains rather than the previously-agreed-upon $60m. According to a Tesla SEC filing, the EV specialist firm will supply Toyota with

a validated electric powertrain system, including a battery, charging system, inverter, motor, gearbox and associated software which will be integrated into an electric vehicle version of the Toyota RAV4. Additionally, Tesla will provide TMC with certain services related to the supply of the Tesla Battery and Powertrain.

There’s still no word about how many of these RAV4s is Toyota planning on selling over those two years, or where will they be assembled, but it sounds like Toyota isn’t trying to launch quite the EV offensive that some green car blogs seem to be hoping for. As one analyst puts it to Bloomberg, $100 million “isn’t a huge amount for Toyota, so this allows them, with only modest downside risk, to participate in what Tesla is doing.” That sounds about right…

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16 Comments on “Toyota To Pay Tesla $100m For 2012-2014 Electric RAV4...”

  • avatar

    So Toyota’s 2012-2014 Electric RAV4 will be released in 2017?

  • avatar

    Upcoming releases . . .

    RAV4 EV Part II: Revenge of the Batteries

  • avatar

    And the winner is, Tesla and Toyota. As recently as late 2007/early 2008 Toyota was dismissing electrics as not economically viable (and they may prove to be right). They get to hedge their own bet however, they get Tesla’s hard earned investment on the cheap, plus POTENTIALLY a manufacturing partner (Tesla has lots of experience in taking powertrainless chassis and slapping their systems in them and there is allllll that NUMMI space). Given the strength of the Yen, that $100 million is even a bigger bargain. Shoot, they actually may make a profit on the EVs they sell – Nissan can’t say that.

    Their marketing department gets to scream about how green of a company they are, shoot, they may even have polar bears come out from the Tundra to carry a RAV-4 sherpa style through the Canadian wilderness out of the highest level of regard. Never mind the Tundra, Sequoia, Land Cruiser and FJ Cruiser – or how they are falling behind in the MPG race in the B, C and D segments. Honest, Toyota is green. That, as the blogosphere is already wetting themselves over, is probably the biggest benefit of all. Gobs of hype that not even $100 million couldn’t buy.

    Tesla gets a desperately needed infusion of cash to keep the lights on and bring the S closer to production despite its waning range. I’m willing to bet if you dig into the depth of the deal and cost it on R&D and production, Tesla is selling the technology/system at a loss per unit. But that doesn’t matter, they also get PR hype by screaming as loud as they can about “deep partnerships,” and, “significant investment,” and, “co-production of the world leading…” and other pump it up for all its worth PR, AR, and marketing speak.

  • avatar

    Elon Musk is a very very lucky guy.

    I doubt he would be anyway good except Chapter 11 until Toyota came in.

    It reminds me of Microsoft investing a few pennies, relatively speaking, into some small startup.

    Win or lose, Toyota and Microsoft don’t care. But the upside and tech transfer is priceless.

  • avatar

    Elan Musk is one of the great con artists of our time, and I don’t know whether to hate him or envy him for it. Toyota gets a handful of demonstration vehicles that will be passed around a handful of execs and auto-journalists never coming within a hundred miles of an actual consumer. While Tesla gets a hundred million and more importantly endless headlines and a connection to a real auto-maker. This should help Tesla sell some more stock, because that’s what they really do, they sure as hell don’t sell cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Can’t agree with that. Tesla’s sold upwards of 1500 Roadsters by now.

      His other company, SpaceX, has built and orbited rockets in space. These rockets and capsules are being prepared to carry US astronauts to the International Space Station. The governments and space agencies of the world wouldn’t let just any huckster dock with their $100 billion investment in space.

      As for Tesla, he’s already sold 30 times as many cars as Tucker, whose shiny reputation remains to this day.

      And Toyota isn’t known for throwing away $100 million just for the fun of it. Consider that they chose to do this instead of, say, buying Saab. By comparison, Saab is the real con artist.

      • 0 avatar

        Tucker actually built cars; Musk took Lotus provided sleds and gave them a bunch of laptop batteries. Many of Tucker’s innovations made their way into cars years later. Musk took what others have done for years and found a way to monetize it at $110K a pop.

      • 0 avatar

        Tell me how easy it is for a con artist to electrify a Lotus or Rav4 and get paid for each one.

  • avatar

    Another fashion accessory for eco-poseurs that completely misses the point. I mean, how does one justify wrapping all this planet-saving technology in a tall, heavy, inefficient cute-ute that cannot go off-roading, tow a boat, bust a snowdrift or do anything even remotely utilitarian?

    This goofiest of golf carts is what happens when you lock a bunch of engineers in a room with a Prius and a crack pipe.

    • 0 avatar

      When I drove the same platform RAV4, I received many compliments from jeepers when they met me in various unexpected places. RAV4’s tow rating is 3500 lbs, which is the same as 4-door Wrangler’s and 1000 lbs larger than 2-door Wrangler’s. It also delivered 24 mpg easily in daily driving. Haters gonna hate, I guess.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m talking about an electric RAV4, not the real one.

        If the electric version pulls 3500-pound loads and gets compliments from Jeep owners, I will renounce my religion and join the Church of Tesla myself.

    • 0 avatar

      They sold a few electric RAV4’s before, and they seem to have a pretty good following. 27 Kw-hr/100 miles city, 34 Kw-hr/100 miles highway.

  • avatar

    I haven’t read the filing, but farmer’s math would say 100m/20k per vehicle is about 5,000 EVs. A decent number that’s beyond the regular ‘few schools, PUs and govt’ level.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    As fate would have it, I was passed by a Tesla on the interstate today while driving to work. I must admit that it’s neat looking, and the driver had no problem easily exceeding the speed limit. I don’t know how long the commute for him was, but the machine still appeared to have plenty of vim and vigor.

    Electrics will to nowhere until battery technology improves by an order of magnitude, but I still was fascinated by actually seeing one of these things actually working.

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