AutoblogGreen had the rare opportunity on Friday to chat with Toyota CEO and president Akio Toyoda. During the conversation, he revealed that a prototype vehicle with a Tesla electric drive unit was under construction. Tesla's Chief Technology Officer, J.B. Straubel, has confirmed this to CNN Money, saying that the Silicon Valley company is indeed preparing two mule vehicles for Toyota. Tesla battery packs, power electronics and motors are being installed into Toyota bodies.
Straubel expects to deliver the vehicles to Toyota by the end of of this month. Toyota officials told ABG that the initial plan is to just test the performance and durability of the Tesla packs to determine whether they meet Toyota standards. If Toyota proceeds with a production program using a Tesla-style battery (employing small laptop-type cells) it will be for a new vehicle, not the iQ-based EV arriving in 2012.
[Source: CNN Money]