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Toyota Announces Plans to Work on EV Prototype with Tesla

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On: Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 9:51AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Announces Plans to Work on EV Prototype with Tesla

Tesla, a relatively new company without much of a track record, and the number one green car auto manufacturer in the world, and Toyota have formed a partnership that has been somewhat baffling to many.

Tesla Motors recently held their IPO and Toyota Motors purchased $50 million in stock as the two automakers plan to partner in the making of electric vehicles at the Nummi Plant that was recently closed in Freemont, California.

Since initial trading on June 29th, Tesla shares have dropped and are trading slightly below their initial public offering price of $17.

During a recent interview the president of Toyota Corporation; Akio Toyoda, announced that his company has begun the process of building the first prototype electric vehicle that has a Tesla battery pack.

This year, Tesla launched an all-electric Model S Sedan that travels 300 miles on a single charge, sells for $57,000, and reportedly has enough power to accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds.

Although the test of time has not proven the durability of the Tesla battery, Toyoda has expressed interest in evaluating the difference between the batteries Toyota currently installs in its hybrids (a Panasonic brand) and the larger automotive batteries that are being used by other automakers. The Tesla Roadster’s lithium-ion battery pack contains as many as 6,831 cells, similar to the type of battery (only smaller, of course) that is typically found in a laptop computer.

"We'll see which better meets the needs of consumers. We're taking a multifaceted approach," Toyoda told a group of U.S. reporters this week.

Before Toyota would formally adopt the new Tesla-type battery in any of its vehicles, the company would needed to evaluate just how well they wouldstand up to harsh weather conditions, and long term use that mainstream cars on the road experience.

"We're at the stage of working toward a prototype and once that's completed and we've reached that milestone, I'd like to announce more about what we're working on together," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said. "It's hard for a single company to take on environmental technology all alone because of the need for infrastructure. I think cooperation is going to be increasingly important." Toyota Executive Vice President Shinichi Sasaki stated that although it is unclear to many what exactly Toyota's future plans are with Elon Musk, owner of Tesla, at this point there has not been a formal contract negotiated.

"At Toyota we have a lot to learn from this partnership. We've just begun working with Tesla but I believe that we've taken an important first step," Sasaki said.

A team of U.S engineers from the research department at Toyota will work with Tesla on the joint prototype, according to a Toyota spokesperson.

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