JAPAN: Tesla's Musk hints at future ventures with Toyota
Toyota RAV4 developed with Tesla was launched in 2012 in the US and about 2,000 have sold. And earlier model based on the first generation RAV4 was developed by Toyota and component suppliers
Another joint venture between Tesla and Toyota cannot be ruled out, the former's CEO, Elon Musk, has said in Japan.
"If you look out maybe two or three years from now, I would not be surprised if there was a significant deal with Toyota and Tesla," Musk told reporters in Tokyo, according to Bloomberg News.
Nothing specific has been planned but Musk added he was thinking of a larger project than the jointly developed electric RAV4 small SUV which is running out having sold around 2,000 units since launch.
Bloomberg noted that, while Tesla has continued to expand its EV range, Toyota is readying its first fuel-cell vehicle, using technology Musk has ridiculed.
Bloomberg cited sources saying engineers had clashed over the RAV4 EV project but Musk said Monday insisted Tesla has "a very good relationship with Toyota".
After having previously dismissed hydrogen-powered cars as "fool cells" in the past, he said at an event launching Model S deliveries in Japan there was some value in experimenting with other technology.
Last June, Musk said a limited battery pack supplies was one reason Tesla - which builds cars in a former GM-Toyota JV factory in California - and Toyota would take a year or two before discussing build another vehicle together.
Musk last week announced it would build its 'gigfactory' battery plant on a site near Reno, Nevada, while the state legislature reportedly would seek to approve a bill that will allow the EV maker to receive between $750m and $1bn in tax abatements and $195m in tax credits in return for an estimated $1.9bn in tax revenue over 20 years.
Bloomberg reported today Musk envisions battery making partner Panasonic providing 30% to 40% of the spend required for the factory, estimated to cost as much as $5bn by 2020.
"We are probably pushing Panasonic faster than they would normally go," Musk said. "I think it will turn out well for both companies.
The speed at which Panasonic is making decisions is extremely impressive," he added. "We really feel very honoured that they would take a risk on Tesla."