You've probably never encountered one, but since 2012, Toyota has been building an electric version of it's RAV4 utility vehicle. Mainly sold in California, 1,594 of the electrical variation of the popular SUV have been sold since 2012.
It's no surprise that the RAV4's battery and the engine come from Tesla. Toyota owns 2.4 percent of the Palo Alto, California company's stock. However, last week Tesla announced that Toyota will be ending it's $100 million contract earlier than planned. In May 2012, Toyota committed to buying the components for 2,600 electric RAV4s from Tesla over three years.
Although Toyota has not commented, Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla Motors, said that production will end this year. This contract would have provided $15.1 million to Tesla during the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, John Hanson, spokesman for Toyota said that "This was a project for a specific number of vehicles that we planned to sell for a specific number of years." ... "We have not made any announcement about the relationship or what we’ll do with Tesla in the future."
Tesla will not wind up with excess capacity, since the company is expanding it's sales of the Model S sedan worldwide, and is preparing to launch it's Model X crossover in 2015. The company is also planning to launch a more affordable rechargable sedan in the next two or three years. Tesla is also increasing it's production of components for the Mercedes-Benz B Series Electric Drive, while it readies plans to build a giant battery factory.
In 2015, Toyota will begin selling a fuel cell sedan in the state of California, yet another way to fulfil the state's laws requiring that 14 percent of all 2015 to 2017 model sales by a manufacturer be zero emission vehicles.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca