Tesla Motors has become a respectable name in eco-friendly vehicles, particularly the all-electric variety. Toyota not so much. Which makes this deal a rather unique one, and a rewarding one for both parties.
Toyota has had a respectable brand name since coming to U.S. shores in 1957. Its reputation really preceded it. By the mid-1960s, Toyota had entrenched its reputation as a great car manufacturer in the United States. While Toyota doesn’t exactly have the sales to prove its commitment to eco-friendly driving, it is recognized as the manufacturer of the most fuel efficient gasoline vehicle on the road – the Prius. But that’s just one vehicle.
Toyota’s success with the Prius coupled with its financial power and Tesla Motors’ commitment to alternative energy in automotive manufacturing make their partnership a very powerful one. The two companies made their finalization announcement last week.
The vehicle the two companies will partner on as a first effort is an electric version of the Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 is a Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive, a compact SUV that really set the market for compact SUVs. Toyota is known for its innovations and that’s why partnering with Tesla Motors to make the RAV4 an all-electric vehicle makes sense.
The RAV4 is expected to hit the streets in 2012. It will feature a Tesla electric drivetrain inside the RAV4 body and integrated with other key components of Toyota manufacturing. The only question that seems to be unanswered regarding the all-electric RAV4 and Toyota’s marriage to Tesla Motors is “Is the market ready for it?” I’m banking that, by 2012, it will be.
Learn more about the 2010 Toyota Prius. Get the latest information on the Tesla Roadster by Tesla Motors.