Sparked by poor sales of the RAV4 EV, Toyota has decided to end its battery supply partnership with Tesla. Toyota isn’t bailing out altogether though since it still owns a 3-percent stake in the Silicon Valley electric carmaker.
According to the New York Times, “… the electric RAV4 has sold poorly, despite low-cost lease and loan offers Toyota introduced last year to promote sales. And Toyota has increasingly signaled that it sees fuel cells as the most viable zero-emissions technology, putting it at odds with Tesla, an evangelist for electric-vehicle technology. Toyota is also the world’s biggest manufacturer of gas-electric hybrids.
“Toyota said in an emailed statement that it was ‘re-evaluating’ its RAV4 electric vehicle, and that Tesla’s supply agreement for the model would ‘conclude this year.’ Toyota said that its contract had called for Tesla to supply 2,500 battery-electric powertrains for the RAV4.
“The Japanese automaker said its focus this year would instead be on its four-door sedan powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which it plans to introduce in California next year. The automaker will also focus on developing hydrogen refueling stations to support fuel-cell technology, it said.”
This news is sure to upset diehard battery electric vehicle fans. Then again if a few more of the fans would have bought the RAV4 EV, then there would be no issue here. Toyota has stated before that their new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, which is being introduced next year, could be the next Prius. We’ll just have to wait and see whose crystal ball is more accurate.