Just like Tesla, the supplier for the electrical powertrain of the model predicted, Toyota will move to cease production of its plug-in RAV4-EV, the battery-electric version of the SUV that was revealed two years ago.
The Japanese company, the largest automaker in the world and one that has an established reputation in the hybrid segment, will move to phase out the model this year as it prepares to start in 2015 sales of its first fuel cell vehicle.
Unveiled back in autumn during the Tokyo Motor Show, the prototype of the hydrogen-powered FCV would form the basis for a Camry sized sedan – with Toyota concentrating on fuel cell technology to make its mark in the electric vehicles segment, rather than on battery powered cars.
“Our contract called for Tesla to supply approximately 2500 battery-electric powertrains for the RAV4 EV. We anticipate that volume will be achieved this year,” noted John Hanson, Toyota’s national manager of advanced technology communications.
Although the decision to end the RAV4-EV project puts questions on the Tesla/Toyota partnership, both automakers tress they still have a good business partnership, with the Japanese aiding Tesla in the difficult start-up moments and the California company providing the battery packs and also electric drivetrain for the small SUV.
While both seek future growth in the electric segment, they don’t seem to overlap much, as Tesla would add its own crossover model since 2015 and Toyota not confident in the advanced Li-Ion battery technology.