Toyota and Tesla may partner on the development of an electric-vehicle platform, Chosun Ilbo reported on Tuesday.
Citing an official from the Japanese auto industry, the Korean newspaper reported that Toyota and Tesla have been in talks since last year and are close to the final stage of discussions.
The discussions reportedly center on a plan that would see Toyota combine its engineering know-how with Tesla’s expertise in software and control systems for electric powertrains to realize a new platform to be used in a small crossover.
It’s not the first time the two companies have been linked. Toyota was an early shareholder of Tesla but offloaded its stake in 2016. Toyota also rolled out an electric RAV4 in 2012 that used a powertrain supplied by Tesla.
2012 Toyota RAV4 EV
What isn’t clear is whether the new platform being reported is the platform Tesla intends to use for an EV costing just $25,000. In a presentation last fall, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said reductions in the cost of battery cells would enable the company to deliver a vehicle at the $25,000 mark, or almost $13,000 less than its most affordable model sold today.
Toyota has largely dragged its feet when it comes to battery-electric vehicles, with the company preferring to focus on hybrids and hydrogen-electric vehicles. However, the market has headed in the direction of battery-electric vehicles and Toyota is now responding. The company is committed to launching at least 10 battery-electric vehicles within the first half of the decade, including at its luxury brand Lexus.
Toyota’s first volume battery-electric vehicle in the United States will be a compact crossover SUV twinned with a model from Subaru. It’s due for a reveal later this year.