​Tesla and Toyota Call it Quits on RAV4 EV

When Toyota bought a 2.4 percent stake in Tesla back in 2011, part of the deal was to supply battery packs, motors, and electronics for the RAV4 EV. Three years later, Tesla says that deal is done at the end of 2014.

When Musk and Toyoda shook hands three years ago, Toyota planned to build 2,600 electric RAV4s and Tesla estimated the deal at around $100m. Since its introduction in 2012 through April of this year, Toyota has sold 1,594 RAV4 EVs, and in Tesla's Q1 earnings report the automaker said it brought in $15.1m from the venture. Extrapolate that out over the course of two years (the length of the deal signed), and $100m sounds about right.

In Tesla's quarterly filing it says, "Toyota is expected to end the current RAV4 EV model this year." Toyota hasn't confirmed that, only telling Bloomberg, "This was a project for a specific number of vehicles that we planned to sell for a specific number of years. We have not made any announcement about the relationship or what we'll do with Tesla in the future."

Fair enough. But with nothing to propel its fleet of electrified 'utes, Toyota doesn't have much choice. And considering the EV is based on the last-gen RAV4 that ended production in 2012, Toyota doesn't want to have outdated models littering its lots, even if it is electric.

​Tesla and Toyota Call it Quits on RAV4 EV

More importantly, the RAV4 EV was a compliance vehicle, produced to satisfy part of California's clean-vehicle quota. Once it's filled its requirements, there's no reason for it to live on. And with Toyota planning a hydrogen fuel cell sedan and another type of zero-emissions vehicle to take care of California's ZEV mandate, the RAV4 EV has fulfilled its purpose.

Additionally, with Tesla now producing battery packs, motors, and electronics for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive - along with being supply constrained on its lithium-ion battery production for the Model S - the end of the Toyota deal couldn't come at a better time. And then there's the arrival of the Model X...

But what about that 1000-or-so RAV4 EVs yet to be sold? Don't be surprised to see them injected into fleets inside California and sold at a discount at dealers.