Last year, Toyota surprised many consumers and market analysts by investing in Tesla Motors, a revolutionary electric-only car manufacturer. Toyota recently announced that they would be investing several million within the next couple years in a joint effort between the two companies. The brain child of this cooperation, under cover for several months, was finally announced as the RAV4 Electric Vehicle (EV). It will be one of the first front line, full-sized EV coming out of Toyota to the states, and it has the potential to change a lot of things about the company.
Last year, Toyota sold one of their manufacturing plants for a meager $42 million, and once Tesla went public, Toyota purchased $50 million worth in stocks. This placed Toyota in a prime position to take advantage of the technology Tesla is world renowned for. The Tesla Roadster, their key product, is equipped with enough battery and energy efficient parts to get an estimated 200 miles per charge. It is this potential that Toyota saw in the company, and it is also why Toyota is working with them now.
While most of the RAV4 EV will be powered by Toyota Parts, there will probably be several aspects of the vehicle Tesla-influenced. The battery will most likely be a little tweaked with new specifications to try and mimic the incredible efficiency of the ones in the Roadster. The powertrain is one of the biggest parts of the vehicle that Tesla has contributed, and after $100 million coming from Toyota, Tesla will be producing them all for the RAV4 EV. “The powertrain 1.5 is an improved motor, inverter and gearbox designed to replace our previous two-speed transmission that had many durability, efficiency and cost challenges,” a Tesla Engineering Update said. While it’s not 100% clear if this is the version that will go in the EV, it is reasonable to assume that if it is finished on schedule, this would be the beast behind the RAV4 EV.