Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been working closely with Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203) on Toyota’s Rav4 electric SUV for some time. Now Tesla management says it may happen again in the not-too-distant future, although they don’t yet have any plans set in stone.
Tesla, Toyota wind down sales
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Toyota and Tesla are starting to wind down sales of the Rav4 electric after selling just 2,000 of them in the two years it was on the market. Since they embarked upon that partnership, they have followed separate paths. Toyota is now getting ready to put its first fuel-cell vehicle on the market. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that fuel-cell vehicles have no place in the future auto market.
Unnamed sources reportedly told Bloomberg News that engineers for the two automakers had clashed during the development of the Rav4 EV. However, Musk identified their relationship with Toyota as “very good.” Also today after making Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s first deliveries in Japan, Musk backed off his past comments about fuel-cell vehicle sand said there was value in testing out other technology.
Tesla to re-partner after gigafactory is up and running?
In June, Musk said tight battery pack supplies was one of the reasons they were ending their partnership with Toyota. He also said that it would be a year or two before they partner again on another vehicle. That should give Tesla Motors enough time to get its gigafactory up and running, thus alleviating constraints on battery supply.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Japanese battery cell maker Panasonic Corp. (TYO:6752) are expected to partner on the gigafactory. Musk wants to see Panasonic pay between 30% and 40% of the cost of building the gigafactory, which is estimated to be $5 billion in the next six years. He added that he feels like they are pushing Panasonic faster than it would normally go and that it is “extremely impressive” how quickly the Japanese company is making decisions.