A report in a Korean newspaper says that Toyota and Tesla are close to announcing that they will work together on an electric compact SUV vehicle platform.
The Chosun Ilbo report said the two companies have been in discussions over the partnership arrangement for some time and are now ‘approaching the final stage’.
The report suggests that a collaboration between the two would bring together their respective strengths – Toyota with the basic vehicle engineering, Tesla with the electronics and OTA software – for a low cost compact SUV electric vehicle.
Cost savings in developing such a vehicle would benefit Tesla in its ambition to launch lower priced electric vehicles in mass market segments. Elon Musk has said – at last year’s Tesla Battery Day – that he wants Tesla to release a $25,000 priced electric car (dubbed ‘Model 2’ by some) by 2023. However, analysts have cast doubt on Tesla getting to that price point on its own that quickly and given the pace of likely cost reductions for batteries.
Other reports have suggested that a future low cost Tesla model will be made in China – for global sales – in order to keep costs down.
Toyota and Tesla have partnered previously. In the early 2010s, Toyota’s electric RAV4 was fitted with Tesla’s battery system.