Toyota, Tesla Said to Prepare RAV4, RX Prototypes
Toyota Motor Corp. and Tesla Motors Inc. will develop battery-powered test versions of the Japanese carmaker’s RAV4 and Lexus RX in the first stage of a partnership in electric vehicles, a person familiar with the matter said.
Tesla said July 10 that it will deliver two prototypes vehicles to Toyota this month without identifying the models. While Toyota also aims to test an electric Corolla compact car, the RAV4 and RX light trucks are better suited to the weight of Tesla’s battery pack, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the vehicles haven’t been announced yet.
Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda said last week the partnership with Tesla, maker of the $109,000 electric Roadster, is the first of several the Toyota City, Japan-based company wants to pursue in advanced auto technologies. Toyota, the world’s largest seller of hybrid autos, bought a $50 million stake in Palo Alto, California-based Tesla this month.
“We anticipate range and acceleration exceeding that of other announced electric vehicles of this class,” Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla, said today in an e-mailed message. He declined to discuss project details.
Keisuke Kirimoto, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Toyota, said he couldn’t confirm the models. Toyota bought its stake in Tesla July 2, he said.
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