Although a partnership between the world's largest automaker and the fledgling electric car start-up may have seemed unlikely only a few years ago, Toyota and Tesla motors recently announced plans to collaborate on the research and development of electric car technology - starting with two rechargeable electric car prototypes that are scheduled to be delivered to Toyota in July. After initially signaling their intention to work together in May when they announced the joint purchase of an assembly plant in Fremont California, the relationship heated up even more when Toyota agreed to purchase $50 million worth of Tesla stock after their initial public offering.
The two prototypes, which are rumored to be electric battery powered modifications of Toyota's RAV4 and Lexus RX models, illustrate Toyota's desire continue to be at the forefront of clean fuel technology - the company's Prius is currently the best selling Hybrid-Electric model on the market. Tesla, whose own $109,000 Roadster has sold over 1,000 vehicles since starting production, is focusing most of its energies on launching the more reasonably priced ($50,000) Model S sedan which it hopes to make available by 2012. Tesla has also received over $400 million in government loans to date in order to help them develop more efficient electric car technology.
With Tesla raising a reported $260 million during it IPO last month and large investments from world class auto makers such as Toyota (as well as Germany's Daimler AG which has invested $50 million in Tesla and hopes to use electric battery technology in their Smart minicars), hopes are high that Tesla can help usher in the widespread development and adoption of electric car technology across the auto industry.
Related Questions and AnswersHow Fast Can a Tesla Roadster Go?
For an all-electric car, the Tesla Roadster speed numbers are very impressive. The Roadster is reported to have a maximum range of 244 miles on a single charge. The three phase, four pole motor on the newer models delivers a very impressive 288 horsepower. The torque delivered by the motor is constant from 0 to 14,000 RPM at 200 foot pounds. The car is electronically limited to a maximum speed of 125 miles per hour. However, if the speed limiter was removed, the car could achieve much higher speeds. In testing, the Tesla tripped the quarter mile in 12.6 seconds at just over 100 miles per hour.