Green

Tesla Motors inks $100M deal with Toyota

Electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors has made a deal to supply Toyota with electric powertrains.

The powertrains, which Tesla uses in its Model S and Tesla Roadster cars will now ship in Toyota’s RAV4 car in a deal that will net the company $100 million, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The powertrain system includes a battery, charging system, inverter, motor, gearbox and associated software that are deployed in Tesla’s current fleet. Tesla Motors will produce equipment for the RAV4 between 2012 and 2014, according to the filing. That means the deal likely serves as an extension to a deal Tesla Motors and Toyota originally signed to produce an electric RAV4 in July last year.

Tesla Motors outperformed investor expectations in its last operating quarter thanks to its deal with Toyota in producing the RAV4. The company also sold battery components and chargers to Daimler for its Class-A and Smart Fortwo electric vehicles.

Tesla Motors makes the sporty Tesla Roadster electric car. The company was planning to stop producing models in the next several months, according to Elon Musk. But a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that the company purchased an extra 100 Lotus Elise chassis to continue producing Tesla Roadsters.

“It’s a wise strategy to diversify on their part, they’ve built some intellectual property into battery management and drive train technology,” John Gartner, a senior analyst at cleantech research firm Pike Research, told VentureBeat. “It’s the return of a vehicle that was interesting to a lot of folks, and the new battery and drive train might make it more attractive.”

The car has proved somewhat popular because it’s a sporty model with one of the largest ranges for an electric car. It appeals to sports-car enthusiasts because it can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 125 miles per hour. But it does carry a hefty price tag of $109,000. The company said it had sold 1,650 Roadsters by the end of its most recent operating quarter.

The electric car maker is still working on its second car, the Model S sedan (shown in an image above), which will be geared toward casual car buyers and those buying electric cars for the first time.  The Model S costs a slightly more reasonable $57,000 before government incentives for purchasing an electric car. The production model will come out in the United States around summer next year and in Europe toward the end of 2012.

VentureBeat has contacted Tesla Motors for additional details about the deal.