Toyota & Tesla are now two weeks into their partnership (in which Toyota purchased a $50M stake in Tesla), and it’s rumored that their first joint-project will be converting a Lexus RX to a full electric prototype:
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.
The target for a model developed with Tesla would be for a car that costs about $40,000 with 150 miles (240 kilometers) of driving range per charge, the person familiar with the plans said.
“Toyota and Tesla engineering teams have made a lot of progress in a short amount of time,” JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technology officer, said in a July 10 e-mail message.
It may not be a vehicle as exciting as Tesla’s own Roadster, but with the RX already engineered to support a battery pack with its hybrid version, it’s a natural choice to be prototyped using the Tesla electric platform.
Even more than the models chosen, I’m surprised by the speed of this partnership — I wouldn’t have expected an announcement so soon, never mind the possibility that we may see a full-electric Lexus prototype before the year is out.