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Tesla Signs $60 Million Contract With Toyota

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the electric-money dept.

Transportation 233

thecarchik writes "Tesla Motors announced that it has reached a $60 million deal with Toyota to develop the powertrain for an electric version of the strong-selling Rav4 sport utility vehicle. A prototype RAV4 Electric will be unveiled by Toyota at November's Los Angeles Auto Show. The company plans to sell the electric RAV4 starting in 2012, the same year that a number of new electric cars will join the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevrolet Volt in the US market."

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might i say (1)

vawarayer (1035638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925150)

about f* time

Re:might i say (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925636)

I was part of the business development team that made this happen.

Toyota was actually one of four OEMs we were talking to, and the least likely at the outset, but the rest were moving too slowly.

Toyota was the only manufacturer that didn't put the brakes on the deal.

Re:might i say (5, Funny)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926106)

> Toyota was the only manufacturer that didn't put the brakes on the deal.

Toyota doesn't put the brakes on ANYTHING.

Re:might i say (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926108)

Oh definitely.

It is about the f*** time the pseudo 4x4's sold to moms on the soccer run have an appropriate urban drive. After all they never ever see any 4x4 usage (except mounting a curb by mistake during "artistic" parking).

Let's face it - electric 4x4 is an abomination. The charge in a "Tesla-like" pure electric vehicle will be down to zero in about 30 miles on a dirt track or even less on a mountain road. Even extended range will not help here. The power output of the range extension units will simply not be enough to sustain the power reqs of pushing a vehicle through the muck, sand and uphill - where you really need 4x4.

It is the same story as wit electric vs gas or oil heating. A 30-40kw gas or oil furnace is something trivial, most household units are way above that. A 30kw electric boiler requires special wiring and is nightmare to install and operate.

Anonymous Coward (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925152)

Anyone else initially assume it was about the band, Tesla?

Re:Anonymous Coward (3, Funny)

Byzantine (85549) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925174)

No.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0, Troll)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925244)

Uhmm.. all profits go back to Toyota in Japan, apart from the worker's wages. If there's anything good in this as far as "U.S. economy" goes, its Tesla.

Re:Anonymous Coward (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925332)

Worker's wages account for the vast majority of people directly involved. Does it really matter whether the fat cats who keep all the profits are here or in Japan? The taxes on the profits, if any, are probably paid in the Cayman islands either way. And even if you still believe in trickle-down economics, money has no trouble trickling across borders.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926090)

Worker's wages account for the vast majority of people directly involved.

He deserves it. He must be a busy guy.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925700)

Toyota is a publicly held company. The only way to (legally) distribute "profits" outside the company is through dividends. There are plenty of US shareholders.

Aside from that, does the nationality of the executives who get millions in pay and bonuses really matter? "Trickle down economics" is bullshit, and you nor anyone you know will ever see a dime of it regardless of whether it ends up in the US or Japan.

The only way your argument makes any sense is if you want to talk about jobs created/bolstered by the deal that aren't in the US , of which their are few since Toyota figured out about 20 years ago it was cheaper to build cars here than shipping them over on a boat. Possibly some R&D and marketing, though they may do that here as well (I'd have to google it ... ).

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33926074)

Aside from that, does the nationality of the executives who get millions in pay and bonuses really matter?

Shure does. My granpappy didn't bayernet them chingers on Okinawa soesas they can get moar money then me.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

jasmusic (786052) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926022)

Buy their stock and the profits will go to you too.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33926046)

What does this have to do with the band Tesla? Start your own thread, you moron.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925686)

No.

Re:Anonymous Coward (2, Funny)

triazotan (1895064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925780)

Anyone else initially assume it was about the band, Tesla?

Anyone else initially assumed it was about Nikola Tesla?

g o l f c a r t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925158)

g o l f c a r t

Re:g o l f c a r t (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925212)

and a very fast one, at that

Re:g o l f c a r t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925232)

indeed, the TGV is electric for a very fscking good reason.

Re:g o l f c a r t (2, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925904)

Yup, a golfcart that easily out-preforms whatever clunker you have sitting in your garage right now.

Congrats to both (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925164)

It's about time that this finally happened. It makes sense that Toyota was the one to jump on this.

Excellent news (4, Insightful)

WebManWalking (1225366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925180)

The resources of Toyota. The electric car know-how of Tesla. The factory's in the US and will create jobs here. Absolutely excellent news.

Re:Excellent news (3, Informative)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925250)

Smiths Electric Vehicles in the UK has been *continuously* making electric vehicles for over 70 years.

If you want experience, go talk to Smiths, if you want marketing bullshit, go talk to Tesla.

Re:Excellent news (4, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925272)

Is that you, Mr Edison, behind that Guy Fawkes mask?

Re:Excellent news (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925304)

Smiths seems to be unable to convince both Toyota and Daimler that their drivetrain is ready to be used in mass-production, unlike Tesla.

Re:Excellent news (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925420)

Yeah, and if we all want to drive a golf cart, we could have electric cars for everyone cheap. Smiths Electric Vehicles made milk delivery trucks, which were cool, and now they make vans and trucks that max out at 55MPH, and a range less than 100 miles. Maybe that's enough for you, but......

Tesla cars have no problem doing 60 MPH, and they get there in under 6 seconds, even the 4-door. They have a range of over 300 miles. That's good enough for anything but cross-country trips. If anyone has swallowed the marketing, I'd say you have: it doesn't matter how long they've been building them, it only matters what they can build.

Re:Excellent news (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925658)

Smiths Electric Vehicles in the UK has been *continuously* making electric vehicles for over 70 years. If you want experience, go talk to Smiths, if you want marketing bullshit, go talk to Tesla.

Were you aware that Smith (not Smiths) already has a partnership with Ford [hybridcars.com] ? Furthermore, Smith already works with Ford in Europe [smithelect...hicles.com] to produce commercial electric vehicles on the Ford Transit and Ford Transit Connect chassis.

And maybe (likely) it is an exclusive contract?

Toyota clearly knows what it doing, sir.

Re:Excellent news (1)

WebManWalking (1225366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926062)

I was referring to the 0-to-60 mph in 3.7 seconds know-how.

Re:Excellent news (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925368)

yep all we need now is a viable power storage tech so you know can go more than 50-100 miles without needing a 6 plus hour recharge. Until we can find a power source capable of driving an electric car 200 miles at highway speeds they will be just a gimmick.

Re:Excellent news (4, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925396)

Why do people keep saying this? Do you drive 200 miles a day at highway speeds? If not, then what's the problem? Drive it during the day and charge it overnight. It's 5 miles to my work, so I have 10/day there, and another 10 if I run a bunch of errands. So a car with a 30 mile range would let me do my normal routine without any worries and would include a 10 mile backup.

Re:Excellent news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925450)

The problem are those one or two days per month (or per year for some), on which you do have to go 200 miles on the highway. And you want to get there in one day, so no 6 hour recharge stops every 80 miles.

Re:Excellent news (2, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925454)

That's quite reasonable, but you do then need a backup plan for the times that it becomes necessary to travel long distances. If the combined cost of an electric car and the power to run it was low enough, it could be reasonable to have a secondary car just for long distances, but in the current market one may as well just use the petrol driven car for day-to-day short drives too and skip the (significant) expense of the electric one. Public transport (bus, train, plane, whatever) for long distances and a hire car at the other end is probably a more logical way to deal with it, but that does leave you with a dependence on the schedules, pricing and general whims of the transportation companies.

Re:Excellent news (4, Insightful)

WeatherGod (1726770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926142)

My backup plan for long distances would be to rent a gas car. We already do this in a manner of speaking for very long trips. Do you own a plane for those once or twice a year trips to visit family, or do you do like everybody else and just buy a ticket?

Re:Excellent news (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926286)

...electric car...but in the current market...

rimshot! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Excellent news (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925486)

You're an idiot.

That's all the time I have for you.

AMF.

Re:Excellent news (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925496)

Because sometimes its nice to go out for a drive on the weekends. 200 miles is only an hour and a half away from your house. So if you live in Silicon Valley and want to go hiking at Point Reyes (an excellent state park), you're not going to be able to make it on less than a 200 mile range. And that's for fairly close stuff still: if you want to go on a weekend trip to Yosemite, and lots of people do, forget it. You're stuck locally.

Now, you might say, "get two cars: one for commuting and one for driving out." But then if you live so close to work, what's the point? Why not just get a bike and ride to work?

Re:Excellent news (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925720)

Because sometimes its nice to go out for a drive on the weekends. .... So if you live in Silicon Valley

There's no car rentals in all of Silicon Valley?

I'll make an embarrassing public admission... I live in a house and ... gasp ... I drive a sporty little car. You should hear my older coworkers whine about my decision ... OMG what if you needed to get sheets of plywood from home depot? OMG what if a rugged dirt road mountain sprung forth from the earth in the middle of my commute and you don't have 4wd? OMG OMG!

Well, I've found thru experience I can rent a giant truck in scarce minutes for practically nothing and I'm in the burbs. I would imagine city dwellers have it even easier. I would guess every other year I need to rent a truck for an afternoon. Its not an issue.

99% of the time, I drive the car I WANT to drive, and the 1% of the time I NEED something else, I just rent the perfect vehicle for the job.

The best part is my car payment and insurance bills are about half of my coworkers giant SUV payments. One months savings pays for a lifetime of truck rentals, the rest, every month, is pure gravy... which pays for those weekend getaways the SUV drivers can't afford...

I would imagine the electric car situation is very similar. The fact that its not a road trip wanna be RV is a very rare and easily solved problem, anywhere you can rent a REAL RV.

Re:Excellent news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925866)

youre an idiot. renting a car on weekends when the rental offices close at 5pm is a huge pain in the arse. most of them rarely have cars before the weekend anyway. and you get gouged at 24x7 airport locations. renting a truck which can pull a trailer is just about impossible. have you even tried to rent an RV ? several thousand for a week or two. you can buy an RV for less than that. a good 30 footer is around 10K used. thats three rental trips and its paid for. just because it works for you does not mean it works for anyone else. please just stfu. that stupid car of yours would probably get stuck in halfway decent snow. not to mention you cant even go uphill on the mountains without skidding all over the place. and theres no way to have a family of four with screaming kids in a godamn sporty car.

Re:Excellent news (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926038)

While i agree with you as I do that myself when I need to rent a truck, there is a mark difference in renting a Truck for a day and staying under the local mileage limits and renting a car for a day and paying by the mile.

It goes to show that you haven't had to go to a car rental place recently.

Also you can't rent RV's very easily. Most require special driver's licenses as they get treated like buses.

Re:Excellent news (0)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926124)

OMG what if a rugged dirt road mountain sprung forth from the earth in the middle of my commute and you don't have 4wd? OMG OMG!

That is precisely what an large earthquake does.

Re:Excellent news (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925584)

People do more than just drive back and forth to work. The Nissan Leaf advertises 100 mile range but when you read the fine print thats on flat ground with no AC and an average speed of 20 miles per hour. When you drive at 55 miles per hour with the AC on that reduces it down to a range of 60 miles.

On the week ends I go mountain biking. The closest trail is about 28 miles away and the posted speed limit on the highway here is 70 miles per hour. During the summer it gets up between 90-100 degrees here so there is no way I'm driving without AC. Even if I make it all the way home, there is no way I can go anywhere else that day. So I can't stop at the bike shop on my way, go buy groceries or dinner afterwards.

In contrast my Sentra which cost less than half the cost of the Leaf can make it there and back and every where I travel that day using ~2 gallons of fuel with the AC on. So why should I buy an electric car when I can buy a better gas powered car for less money?

Re:Excellent news (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925986)

actually I do.

I am well known to drive the 90 miles (each way) to have dinner with my mother, play a round of golf with my father, and then drive home. On sundays i drive 60 miles just to spend a couple of hours having fun.

I am also only 8 miles from work, but then twice I week I drive 40 miles a day for other things. two or three times a year I drive 400 miles each way to visit my sister.

At the end of the year I only average 10k miles a year, however if I can't getup and go 200+ miles that day the car is useless for me.

Re:Excellent news (2, Insightful)

WeatherGod (1726770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926174)

Ok, so an EV is not the best tool for you. That's fine, and anybody trying to tell you otherwise is just as much a fool as those who claim that EVs are not viable for a significant portion of the population.

Re:Excellent news (1)

Teckla (630646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926016)

Why do people keep saying this? Do you drive 200 miles a day at highway speeds?

Because it's actually a pretty wise minimum requirement, for several reasons:

1. Companies tend to exaggerate. If they say the range is X, you know the real range is X-Y. Look at how laptop manufacturers exaggerate battery life claims.

2. Batteries become less effective with age, so you want some buffer room built in.

3. Batteries become less effective in cold weather, so you want some buffer room built in.

3. In cold and snowy weather, the kind of weather a lot of us "enjoy" several months of the year, you need to use your headlights and heater a lot, which uses up battery power, so you want some buffer room built in.

4. And, for all those scenarios you don't think of, once again... you want some buffer room built in.

For example, I commute 25 miles one way. So I'll need a range of 50 miles. But I live in Minnesota, so I want to double that due to cold and snow, so I'll want 100 miles. Then I'll want to pad that out due to manufacturer exaggeration and unexpected scenarios, so I'll want something rated closer to 150-200 miles.

We're not trying to be difficult, we're trying to make sure we don't get burned.

Re:Excellent news (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926264)

I drive 120 miles a day at highway speeds. About 60% of the trip, the "highway speeds" are in the 75-80 mph range, and 16% is in the 8-24 mph range on bad days. Frankly, even though 75-80 is batshit insane for the traffic density, I suspect that driving slower unilaterally would be an even bigger mistake.

So yes, I would require an electric car with a range of 200 miles on a fresh battery pack, since I'd want to be able to still make my commute when the battery pack is close to EOL. I cannot afford to live any closer than 80% of that distance from my place of work at the moment, due to housing prices and/or rent prices. Hopefully, I will be able to improve one or the other side of that equation over time, but that is my current transportation need, and that of a surprising number of people in my area.

Re:Excellent news (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925446)

We already have that. It's called a lithium-ion battery. But it costs too much. We instead need a 50 mile pack that's dirt cheap. Like lead-acid. And a gasoline generator, so we never run out of range. That is the scheme that makes the most sense. A 50 mile battery pack (really cheap, lead acid, nickel cadmium or nimh) and a generator.

Re:Excellent news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33926262)

Another US corporation taking government tax cuts and loans selling out.

Interesting how people "like" certain corporations that act like the big, bad, evil corporations but on a smaller scale.

"The factory's in the US and will create jobs here."

The question is and has never been whether it will "create" jobs. Jobs are always created. It's rather the net play will be a positive in job growth as a result of this. The stadium down the street "created" jobs. Bunch of hot dog vendors.

Given Toyota's global reach and Japan's dearth of manpower as well as the falling dollar, it may be true. However, given how corporations act, most likely they'll only be displacing jobs from one sector (gas vehicles) to another (electric vehicles).

Let's see where the other factories open up and whether they export a bunch of these before we go proclaiming a win. I want to see where the these vehicles go, and whether other factories open up on other continents to serve those populations, or whether is a limited "global" deal that only ends up selling US factory goods to the US population.

I'm just amazed Tesla couldn't find a US backer in the remaining big 2 (or 3 if you still count somehow Chrysler). US born, US educated, US started company, foreign contract. The only good thing is that if you were going to pick a foreign company, Toyota (biggest car maker, Japan based) is an excellent choice.

They already make Rav4 EVs (2, Informative)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925234)

I'm a touch confused by this announcement.

Toyota already sells the Rav4 as a full EV. I see them on the road regularly. Several bay area cities use them as official vehicles.

On the other hand I am a Tesla fan, and I have owned several Toyotas so I see this partnership as a good thing.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (4, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925318)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_RAV4_EV [wikipedia.org]

The RAV4 EV was an all-electric version of the popular RAV4 SUV produced by Toyota. It was leased from 1997 to 2003, and at the lessees request, many units were sold after the vehicle was discontinued.[1] As of 2010 there are 800 units still in use.[2] In July 2010 Toyota announced that is working together with Tesla Motors to develop a second generation RAV4 EV, and the companies expect the vehicle to be mass produced by 2012.[2][3]

The first fleet version of the RAV4 EV became available on a limited basis in 1997. In 2001 it was possible for businesses, cities or utilities to lease one or two of these cars. Toyota then actually sold or leased 328 RAV4 EVs to the general public in 2003, at which time the program was terminated despite waiting lists of prospective customers.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (4, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925742)

look at the wikipedia page section regarding the battery. Besides the GM EV1 going 126 miles on a charge with the NiMH batteries, the Toyota Rav4 EV also used high power NiMH batteries until they were sued by the oil company owning the patent and required to discontinue making those batteries.

Pba batteries are too heavy for their energy density and LiOn are still very expensive.This has not helped the EV market but has helped keep oil flowing for the oil industry.

LoB

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925762)

Correct. The NiMH patents were sold by GM to Chevron. Toyota uses a different pack method, thereby getting around the NiMH patent for their hybrids, and Telsa will simply use Lithium Ion (or perhaps Lithium Polymer packs) for the new Rav4s.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926024)

the hybrid NiMH batteries are much less powerful than the ones they once built and used in the Rav4 EV. The other thing which allows them to use the NiMH in the hybrids, IIRC, was the fact that Toyota was able to show the hybrid is 49% EV and 51% gasoline so it is not predominantly powered by electric power. Something about their license stating something to the fact of being predominantly powered by electricity.

LoB

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (2, Insightful)

ptudor (22537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925334)

Don't point out reality. If people knew Toyota and Ford and GM have been mass-producing electric cars since the mid-1990s, they might start asking why they can't actually purchase a product that was introduced over a dozen years ago. Watch "Who Killed The Electric Car" and count the number of RAV4 EVs you see... a past coworker makes his daily commute in one.

It reminds me of news last year about building charging stations across California, when such facilities have lain abandoned for a decade.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925424)

I didn't understand that documentary. They never really explained why there is some conspiracy to avoid electric vehicles. I think the real problem with EVs is that gas has been so cheap for so long, it's never really been worth the extra complexity to switch to electric.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925684)

Did you miss the part where they showed how many dealer replaceable parts are on gas engine cars as opposed to electric cars? There is a huge part of our economy just moving money around keeping gasoline powered cars running.

And the other reason the EV was killed was that the Bush administration funded they hydrogen vehicle hype and suckered the CARB members to believe it. CARB backed off of zero emission vehicle requirements and Detroit cheered and stopped making cars and trucks to fulfill those zero-e requirements.

Do you need any more reasons?

LoB

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925778)

The EV was killed because they were too expensive and impractical and guess what they still are.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926004)

Right, and all along the auto industry was willing to spend millions on marketing of hydrogen prototypes and more millions making those prototypes and that was acceptable. That reminds me, how expensive and how practical are those Hummers? Yet somehow they have been made and sold. Not wonder you're posting A/C, I would be embarrassed to post such a comment too.

LoB

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (1)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926240)

Yet, in garages across the world, people are taking older cars and making perfectly good (in some cases even, better than the ICE counterparts) electric vehicles. Take a look at White Zombie, or Blue Meanie, or Eric Tischer's EV SL1, or Gavin Shoebridge's Kiwi-EV, or any of the other examples on evalbum.com. And that's home-based builders using bespoke parts. Mass production would bring down prices for all of the components, obviously, especially large format Li-Ion (Or Li-Poly) cells.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925468)

I want my EV95 panasonic NiMH.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (0, Troll)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925600)

The best way to get yourself dismissed by anyone with an IQ over 30 is to mention that piece of crap conspiracy-theory "documentary". It's creators make Michael Moore look like a paragon of honesty and openness.

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (4, Informative)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925644)

Toyota and Panasonic were forced to discontinue the battery pack design by Texaco(Exxon now) because the patent for the NiMH battery tech is/was owned by them and they won't let vendors build high power NiMH for vehicle motive purposes. Toyota discontinued the Rav4 EV after losing the lawsuit against them because of their batteries they used.

And don't forget, Tesla might have something Toyota wants so they partnered. It could be just a "Made in America" label or it could be something special they did with the EV powerplant or control systems. It might just be a quick way into the market while they figure out if a 100% EV market will grow as opposed to the plug-in hybrid market.

I feel there is a market for both.

LoB

Re:They already make Rav4 EVs (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925674)

I'm a touch confused by this announcement.

It's not unexpected. Tesla owns part of the idled NUMMI plant in Fremont, CA, where a Toyota/GM partnership produced cars until GM went bust. But Tesla just owns the property, not the equipment that Toyota left behind when they shut the plant. So some kind of deal between Toyota and Tesla makes sense.

NUMMI was a final assembly plant, with no engine line, which is good for Tesla. They can adapt an existing body plant, but their powertrain plant will have to be new.

Seriously? (4, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925276)

Toyota cant R and D this themselves after decades of research?

sounds like a back scratching deal to me

That's uncharitable (4, Insightful)

hackerjoe (159094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925578)

Of course they *could* do it, but Tesla has a powertrain that's pretty much exactly what they'd need already developed for the Model S, and they're presumably already gearing up for production of the components.

Tesla's proven they know what they're doing with the Roadster, so I can see why Toyota would want to spend $60M to adapt an almost-exactly-right design with a very low risk profile than spend probably more pulling together their existing R&D projects and tooling up, with all the entailing higher risk and extra development time.

The hybrid powertrains they've been developing are conceptually very similar to an all-electric powertrain, but there's a lot of mechanical re-engineering they'd have to do, and that takes time. Hell, maybe $60M is a loss, but they're doing this deal because all their best engineers are busy working on another project and they just don't have the staff to handle a big rush job right now. Staffing is a big deal!

Re:That's uncharitable (1)

lopgok (871111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925630)

Why license the technology from tesla when the motor and motor controller tech is based on the AC Propulsion design?

Re:That's uncharitable (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925716)

heh cause then they could not post a 60m "loss"

Re:That's uncharitable (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925804)

almost-exactly-right design

That is a critical part.

If Tesla gets it right, no problemo for Toyota because they've got a piece of the action.

If Tesla screws it all up, no problemo for Toyota because "thats the Tesla stuff, ours will work better".

Seems like a no risk scenario?

Re:Seriously? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926096)

Toyota cant R and D this themselves after decades of research?

sounds like a back scratching deal to me

Sort of like a "you scratch our backs, we won't sue you for patent infringement" kind of deal?

How did he manage that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925280)

I thought he was dead.

check out plugin.com (1)

Jah Shaka (562375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925294)

beed doing my own blog trying to help save the world www.plugin.com [plugin.com]

Re:check out plugin.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925746)

I hate plugins. Flash keeps crashing my browser.

Electric cars are not the answer (4, Funny)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925336)

An electric car is still a car--an absurdly overweight waste of energy. If you want something that can really make a difference, get an electric bicycle: cheaper, cleaner, healthier, and ~1000 mpg equivalent.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (3, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925390)

how about a regular bike? 10 miles per donut.

Parent - Interesting.... (5, Informative)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925532)

how about a regular bike? 10 miles per donut.

From what I see, a doughnut averages 300 calories [dunkindonuts.com] and from what I see here [bikeforums.net] you burn 30 calories per mile - so 10 miles per donut.

Re:Parent - Interesting.... (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925774)

When you add the oil to fry the donut, and the mechanized farming fuel, fertilizers and insecticides made from crude oil, its probably more like 0.1 miles per donut. May as well take the car.

Re:Parent - Interesting.... (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925948)

True, the IC engine is the most efficient form of locomotion. Where it gets the bad rap is when it's being used to transport one person in 2 tons of metal. That's a lot of mass to be slinging around.

Re:Parent - Interesting.... (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926222)

May as well take the car.

But only if you pass on the donut. It's a problem when people choose the donut and the car, such poor choices could lead to an obesity epidemic.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925398)

Hah! I got electric shoes! ~200,000 MPG equiv.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926186)

Riding a bicycle is about 3 times more efficient than walking. Electric bikes are less energy efficient than normal bikes, but they're also easier for unhealthy people to ride.

fucking city-living hipsters (3, Insightful)

pankkake (877909) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925546)

So... how do I move heavy stuff? How do I travel when it's raining? When it's fucking cold? When it's fucking hot? When it's more than a few kms?

I don't own a car and I use public transportation, yet I can see a lot of uses for one. A bike is not, and never will be, a replacement for a car.

Re:fucking city-living hipsters (1)

choongiri (840652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925730)

When you have heavy stuff to move, or the weather isn't suited to your mating preferences, you get in your electric car. The rest of the time, you get on your bike (electric or cheesecake-powered at your preference) because it's far, far more efficient. That's the point. Nobody is saying electric bikes can replace all other vehicles, but for a great number of trips, they're a very good option, and one that (unfortunately) gets laughed at. Before you accuse me of being a fucking city-living hipster, yes, I ride a bike, no, I don't ride it all the time (because it isn't the best choice in every situation), and no I don't live in a city.

Re:fucking city-living hipsters (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926130)

So... how do I move heavy stuff? How do I travel when it's raining? When it's fucking cold? When it's fucking hot? When it's more than a few kms?

I don't own a car and I use public transportation, yet I can see a lot of uses for one. A bike is not, and never will be, a replacement for a car.

Really heavy stuff should be transported by a truck, ideally by a localized freight/home delivery service. But this isn't really an argument against cars, because the majority of cars are rarely used to carry heavy things, and many heavy things (furniture) won't even fit in the typical sedan. If it's raining or cold, put on a coat. If it's hot, wear athletic fabrics and carry some insulated water bottles with ice water. If it's more than a few kms, stop being such a lazy ass--I rode my normal pedal bike over 6000 kms across the US. I ride my e-bike 5 kms to school every day, and do it faster than I can in my car. A bike can not do everything a car can do, this is true; just the same, a car can not do everything a bike can do. For any trip under 50 kms with less than 20 kgs of cargo (ie most of them), the bicycle is the most efficient option.

Re:fucking city-living hipsters (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926308)

So... how do I move heavy stuff? How do I travel when it's raining? When it's fucking cold? When it's fucking hot? When it's more than a few kms?

I used to ride more than 15km each way to/from work. Solution: shower and carry a change of clothing. I was a fair weather rider, but others don rain gear and travel in the rain. Others even do so in snow when it's -20 C and the snow is up to their pedals -- this was a weather reporter I read about in either Edmonton or Calgary, I forget which, who rode her bike 365 days a year in temperatures anywhere from -40 C to +40 C. When it's hot, you wear less and use sunscreen. Unless it's so hot and your route so challenging that you're likely to suffer from heat stroke, it's definitely doable.

On the rare occasion you need to move heavy stuff (what, a few times a year?) you borrow a friend's vehicle or you rent one. It's extremely cheap. If it's only moderately heavy stuff, do a Google image search for "bicycle cargo trailer". It does the trick for everything except really heavy loads + really steep hills. Here's one result [treehugger.com] from that search which surprised me as well as this [bikesatwork.com] linked article on moving a refrigerator.

All that said, you're right that a bicycle will never replace a car. If you and friends want a relaxing night out for dinner and then perhaps go somewhere nice afterward, you'd need to be really super dedicated to cycle there, shower and change, haul your smelly gear to the restaurant while you wear your wrinkled clothes, etc. To some, it's a "who can be more extreme" contest but, excluding the zealots, the sensible approach is to use a bicycle when it makes sense and take your car when it makes sense.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (1)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925558)

And what do you do when it snows? Stay home? Some of us need to travel all year, not just the 120 days a year when it's not snowing, raining, too windy, or too cold to ride a bike. Plus some of us buy groceries, or need to get our kayaks to the water.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925682)

You can ride a bike in the snow. They have these things called jackets and you put one on when it gets cold out. They also have snow tires for bikes and bikes designed for the snow.

http://www.highintensitybikeshop.com/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=59

Plus the act of riding the bike will warm you up.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926048)

And what do you do when it snows? Stay home? Some of us need to travel all year, not just the 120 days a year when it's not snowing, raining, too windy, or too cold to ride a bike. Plus some of us buy groceries, or need to get our kayaks to the water.

Put on a coat. The only weather that makes riding a bike impossible is several inches of snow, which usually precludes driving the average sedan as well. There are plenty of ways to carry groceries: a roomy backpack, an extracycle, a trailer (cargo or child), etc. As for kayaks, I've never seen it done but a kayak is certainly light enough to be towed by a bicycle.

oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925654)

I've got a skateboard and a really, really long hill...

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (1)

choongiri (840652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925672)

It's actually kind of sad this got modded funny. Yes, I know people make fun of electric bikes, but you'd think anyone on slashdot would have enough physics 101 to understand why - if you're trying to go 100% electric a bike is actually a much easier, more efficient way to do it than a car. The majority of car trips are an easily-bikeable distance, and if electric bikes get people cycling, then great.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926168)

At least it wasn't modded troll. Electric bikes are nice, normal bikes are more efficient, but for maximal efficiency the vehicle of choice is a velomobile. The human powered speed record on flat ground is over 80 mph (128 kph), in a velomobile.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925946)

I see that you picked the right login.

Re:Electric cars are not the answer (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926196)

Yes, I intend not to waste this gift called life.

Any bets on when... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925512)

...the buyout will be announced?

Re:Any bets on when... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926254)

That's what I was thinking when I read this.

Tesla is as good as done as a brand. They'll become the subdivision of Toyota or, worse, their IP will be wrangled from them and only the top positions in the company will get any real compensation for their work as everyone else who hung in their and put their nose to the grindstone of Tesla will be shoveled off like some much shit on the sidewalk.

What's old is new again (4, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925534)

Toyota has already done an all-electric Rav4. Those of us who have seen Who Killed The Electric Car remember it being featured on there (though not as prominently as the GM EV1).

The only real question here is why they are working with Tesla. There are plenty of good opportunities for conspiracy theorists on this one...

Re:What's old is new again (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926182)

>There are plenty of good opportunities for conspiracy theorists on this one...

Because 10 year old engineering and electric car tech is just too old to shoehorn into a new model? Or that its market suicide if they go with 10 year old tech? Or that its cheaper/better to have Tesla do the work? No need for conspiracy here.

Hybid RAV4 to meet new CAFE standards (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925718)

The 2011 RAV4s will be the last year of the V6. RAV4s are very popular. The V6 version tends to sell the quickest fetching full MSRP from the dealer.

Toyota knows their own market. The new Hybrid i4 for 2012 is out of fear to meet the the new CAFE standards, not because of market demand.

Re:Hybid RAV4 to meet new CAFE standards (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 3 years ago | (#33926018)

Think the CAFE standards are something worth fearing? wait till you see the DEADCAFE ones!

The Volt is not electric. (1)

seanonymous (964897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925834)

I know it says as much in the tags, but the Volt is not an electric car. It's a hybrid. GM lied. Google it.

it drives 40 miles on electricity only (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33925976)

How is it not electric?

As to it being a hybrid, it was always a hybrid. It has a fuel filler nozzle, how did you somehow think that meant it wasn't a hybrid? GM called it a hybrid the whole time.

I'm having a massive problem trying to understand why people care about this at all.

The car runs (about) 40 miles on electricity only with full performance.
Then it runs perhaps 300 more on gas with full performance.

This is what it was stated it would do, that's what it does. I don't see how connecting the ICE to the wheels in the non-EV mode is a sin.

I honestly find the fact that current Volt users are only getting 35 miles on EV instead of 40 and the poor (36-ish) mpg in gas mode to be a bigger deal than how the ICE drives the wheels. And presumably not connecting the ICE to the wheels would only make the mpg in gas mode even worse!

Y"uo fail it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33926166)

have t4e eneRgy [goat.cx]

It took this long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33926248)

Toyota brought an electric RAV4 to my school 15 years ago and our teacher took a few of us for a drive. Buzzing unwary pedestrians was the best part.

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