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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tesla confirm working on two Toyota EV prototypes

We reported Friday that Toyota president Akio Toyoda confirmed that they and Tesla were "working towards a prototype."

According to a report over at CNN, Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel has been quoted as saying that the two outfits have "made a lot of progress in a short amount of time." Straubel confirmed Tesla will be delivering two prototypes to Toyota "by the end of the month," with the vehicles using "Tesla's electric motors and battery packs and the bodies of Toyota vehicles."

Tesla also confirmed to Edmunds that a drivable prototype combining "a high volume Toyota vehicle with a Tesla electric powertrain...has already been built and is undergoing testing. It will be unveiled to the public later this year."

The speed of these developments looks like Toyota are doing some hard pedaling to make up lost ground on Nissan. Perhaps the demand already demonstrated for the Nissan Leaf, where the first years production quota sold out in just 35 days, without so much as a test drive, has finally convinced the world's largest auto maker they are potentially missed the boat by not offering a Plug-in EV.

As for Tesla, we've been saying for a while that the quickest and easiest way to the mass market would be for Tesla to team up with an established manufacture, most of whom still have idle capacity following the Global Financial Crisis, and scale up what they were doing with Lotus.

If Toyota start selling Corolla's with 185 Kw 3 Phase AC Tesla motors in them with 200 miles range, Toyota will certainly trump Nissan and they'll have such a hot ticket on their hands they won't be able to keep up with demand for years to come.


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