Luxury EV Maker Tesla To Do EV Toyota RAV4
Luxury electric-vehicle maker Tesla will develop and electric version of the Toyota RAV4 compact SUV. Toyota took an equity stake in Tesla earlier this year, giving the EV maker its NUMMI manufacturing plant in Fremont, CA. Now, it will pay Tesla $60 million to leverage its battery know-how to create a 100% electric version of the RAV4.
Toyota makes the number-one hybrid, Prius, as well as hybrid versions of the Camry sedan, Highlander SUV, as well as hybrid versions of Lexus luxury vehicles.
Tesla sells an EV roadster today for $100,000-plus. The company had its initial-public offering last June, and the stock is up 21% since then in part because of the investments and deals with Toyota and Daimler.
The gas version of a RAV4 ranges in cost between $22K and $28K and up depending on added features. The EV RAV4, due in 2012, won't be priced until then. Given the cost of batteries, it's hard to imagine that the starting price wouldn't be close to $40K, but then come down to around $30K after government subsidies for zero-emission vehicles.