• Jul 9, 2010
During a interview with a group of American media this afternoon in Nagoya, Japan, Toyota president Akio Toyoda revealed that his company is already in the process of building a prototype electric vehicle with a Tesla battery pack. The statement came in response to questions about the relationship between Toyota and Tesla. As time ran out, we did not have an opportunity for further follow-up or clarification.

However, both Toyoda and executive vice president Shinichi Sasaki both indicated that Toyota was interested in comparing Tesla's battery configuration against their own internally developed battery. Toyota has a joint-venture with Panasonic that is building larger format automotive batteries that are similar to those used by most other manufacturers. By comparison, Tesla uses commodity 18650-format cells that are typically found in laptop computers. The Roadster's pack contains 6,831 such cells.

The long-term durability of the Tesla approach is still very much in question as few Roadsters have accumulated high mileage especially in harsh conditions that more mainstream cars would experience. We may or may not ever see a Toyota car with a Tesla battery pack publicly, as it all depends on the results of this study.


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  • 16 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      An electric iQ would suit Toyota well. Very well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In comes the 800 pound gorilla. I bet every other car maker is shaking in their boots now that the undisputed leader in the hybrid race is paying more attention to the EV market.
      Some very smart people at Toyota. Their vision is amazing. Best proof of it is the whole hybrid VS fuel cell debate from ~10 years ago. The GM's of the world (Bob Lutz being one of them) swore up and down that hybrids made no sense and that fuel cells were the way of the future, Toyota thought otherwise but wisely stated that BOTH technologies had a place in the market but fuel cells were decades out not mere months out/ Fast forward 10 years and Toyota practically owns the hybrid market and no fuel cells out yet. The bad news for everyone else? Toyota is one of the leaders in fuel cell too so when that technology is finally ready for prime time Toyota will be there. And now they are also looking at the EV market.

      GM must be particularly worried, the severely overpriced Volt is already looking to be a failure (the reason GM's target sales numbers are so low) with the Leaf undercutting it by a whooping margin and now Toyota seems interested in the EV market.


      retsel, the "Toyota Cavalier" (a rebadged Cavalier) was sold in Japan to quiet the anti-Japan sentiment of the 90's. Lets not forget that the Cavalier was a pile of donkey dung that didn't compare to compact Toyotas from 10 years earlier. Not surprisingly the car was a sales failure in Japan even with a Toyota badge (junk).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Knowing that Li-Ion laptop batteries generally last from one to two years in normal business use, I can't see the Tesla battery packs lasting a long time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They should have use lithium-polymer cells. A little bit more expensive, but the cells can be in almost any shape you want. You can pack the same amount of energy in a much smaller package with Li-Po cells because you don't have the wasted space like you do with round 18650s
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota will get er done while the US big 3 talk us to death.WHY? no bankers or lawers on toyota's board.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The competition is typically some of the first customers for a breakthrough new model.
      Toyota would be rather slow in their benchmarking process if they just now started testing a tesla roadster's battery. The admission of it is significant though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow that looks insane! Might be my next car after my Prius dies. I went to NJ Toyota and they gave me a great deal. Check out their website at http://www.1800autoland.com/
      • 4 Years Ago
      I really hope it isn't the FT-86.
        • 4 Years Ago
        An EV FT-86 would be sicknasty.

        Doubt it tho, this sounds like something new.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The comments about laptop batteries sound facetious, but they aren't completely unfounded. While prismatic batteries (i.e the newer, large-format cells) tend to have slightly lower power-density, when using commodity cells it's really difficult to manage the individual charge balancing on so-o-o-o many of them.

      That's no denigration of what Tesla did - they were paving new ground and managed to do an incredible job with the materials that were available at the time, developing the systems that were needed to make it work. Without that pioneering work, there probably wouldn't be the EV-specific packs that are now available. But it kind of ends up being apples-and-oranges to compare the current crop of vehicles to the Roadster. I'd say it's definitely a useful thing to benchmark, though.

      I don't necessarily see this representing any sort of collaboration, any more than the standard reverse-engineering that goes on all the time in a competitive industry.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This has happened before and it that happened again...

      Toyota had problems in the small and mid sized car arena and they partnered with GM and even had a Toyota "Cavalier". their Camry was a imitation Taurus. Now they are building an copied Tesla roadster.... guess what comes next....



      • 4 Years Ago
      whenever i hear about the laptop batteries I think of Bob "maximum" Lutz and how he explained why the volt is over 9000x better than other electric cars
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