Tesla and Toyota are reportedly negotiating the joint development of a platform for a small electric SUV. According to a South Korean media report, talks on this began last year and are now said to be nearing the final stage.
This was reported by the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo with reference to a source in the Japanese car industry. According to the report, Tesla is to cover the software and electronics, while Toyota is to contribute the actual vehicle platform. Thus, the two strengths of the companies; software and electric drive systems vs. low-cost vehicle production in large quantities, are to be combined.
On this basis, the announced Tesla model for 25,000 dollars could apparently emerge. However, this has not been confirmed. In return, Toyota wants to benefit from “Tesla’s IT capabilities”, according to the source. Exactly which functions are involved is not clear – nor whether Toyota then wants to and will use Tesla technology in its own vehicles.
However, the report only mentions the vehicle platform and the “electronic control platform and software technology”. The batteries, an important cost factor especially for low-cost electric cars, are not mentioned, however. Tesla itself is about to enter battery production with the 4680 cells, but is also working with cell suppliers such as Panasonic, LG Chem and CATL. Toyota cooperates with CATL, BYD and maintains the joint venture Prime Planet together with Panasonic.
Toyota and Tesla have already collaborated in the past, back in 2012 when they created an electric RAV4. The Japanese company sold its last Tesla shares at the end of 2019.
Toyota has long focused on its hybrids (advertised as “self-charging”) and fuel cell vehicles. However, Toyota Group is now also planning battery-electric vehicles, such as the Lexus UX300e. Toyota has further developed its TNGA platform for electric drive systems, and is also developing a platform for electric SUVs together with Subaru. In China, Toyota is working together with BYD.
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