After a brief scare regarding whether or not the Toyota RAV4 EV would be sold to the public, news has emerged that Toyota has awarded its partner, Tesla Motors, $100 million to provide EV powertrain parts for the RAV4 EV. And yes, you will be able to buy it.
Toyota had previously paid Tesla Motors $60 million to supply lithium-ion battery packs for electric vehicles. This new three-year contract will run through 2014, and will see Tesla providing electric vehicle powertrain components (batteries, inverters, software, motors, etc.) towards the RAV4 EV project, which is tentatively planned for market release in 2012 according to Tesla’s blog.
The $100 million injection couldn’t come at a better time for Tesla, which is phasing out Roadster production this summer, and won’t be releasing the Model S sedan until sometime next year. How is a car company to survive without any cars to sell? Simply put, Tesla has positioned itself as a world leader in EV technology at a time when major automakers like Toyota need this technology to compete. Tesla is as much a car parts supplier as it is an automaker, which should help Tesla stay afloat until Model S production ramps up.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tesla’s equipment show up in the Scion iQ EV either, though that car won’t be for sale to the public. But wouldn’t it be nice if Tesla could sell their own EV version of the iQ? It would certainly give the fledging motor company a bit more range in terms of product, as their only upcoming product is a $60,000 sedan. For now though, this hefty contract should get them through the start of Model S production.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.