Tesla and Toyota are reportedly negotiating the joint development of a platform for a small electric SUV. According to a South Korean media report, talks on the joint venture began last year and are said to be nearing their final stages.
Reported by the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, with reference to a source in the Japanese car industry, Tesla will apparently cover the software and electronics, while Toyota will contribute the actual vehicle platform. This would combine the two strengths of the two companies: software and electric drive systems, and low-cost vehicle production in large quantities.
On this basis, the model could apparently emerge with a price tag of 25,000 dollars, although this has not been confirmed. Toyota wants to benefit from “Tesla’s IT capabilities”, according to the source. Exactly which functions are involved is not clear, nor whether Toyota wants to use Tesla technology in its own vehicles.
The report only mentions the vehicle platform and the “electronic control platform and software technology”. The batteries, an important cost factor especially for low-cost electric vehicles, are not mentioned. Tesla itself is about to enter battery production with the 4680 cells, but is also working with cell suppliers such as Panasonic, LG Chem and CATL. Toyota cooperates with CATL, BYD and maintains the joint venture Prime Planet together with Panasonic.
Toyota and Tesla have previously collaborated in 2012, when they created an electric RAV4. The Japanese company sold its last Tesla shares at the end of 2019.
Toyota has long focused on its hybrids (advertised as “self-charging”) and fuel cell vehicles. However, Toyota Group is now also planning battery-electric vehicles, such as the Lexus UX300e. Toyota has further developed its TNGA platform for electric drive systems, and is also developing a platform for electric SUVs together with Subaru.