Tesla will deliver two prototype electric vehicles to Toyota by the end of this month. The cars will have Tesla electric motors and battery units housed in Toyota bodies, speculated to be the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX. This comes after Toyota announced in May that it will invest $50 million in Tesla Motors following an IPO, which generated over $200 million at one point.
“Toyota and Tesla engineering teams have made a lot of progress in a short amount of time and it is exciting to start seeing some initial results,” Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel said in a statement.
Other alternative fuel plans for Toyota at the moment include a electric city car based on the Toyota iQ, which is a separate project from that with Tesla, and the plug-in version of the Toyota Prius hybrid.
The world’s top carmaker previously gave off the impression that it did not really believe in pure electric cars, which they say is not practical due to their high cost, short range, long charging times and questionable battery technology. Perhaps the strong push by its rivals in the EV scene (GM with the Volt and Nissan with its Leaf) is pushing Toyota to join the party. Working with Tesla is a smart move that could pay off handsomely without the risk of major R&D investment.