Kurt Verlin
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Toyota and Tesla Could Work Together on New Small SUV

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Elon Musk, pictured at The Web Summit 2013, could benefit from a Toyota Telsa partnership
Photo: Web Summit via CC

Toyota and Tesla have been at odds over hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but that isn’t stopping them from working together on a new, small electric SUV platform. A report by Chosen Ilbo, a Korean news publication, says that an official from the Japanese automotive industry confirmed a partnership was being reviewed.

“Tesla and Toyota are considering jointly developing a small electric SUV platform (the car’s basic skeleton),” the report reads. “The partnership review has been conducted since last year. Toyota provides the vehicle platform to Tesla, and instead, Tesla provides some of the electronic control platform and software technology onboard its vehicle to Toyota.”

Alternative Fuel: Explore Toyota’s electrified vehicle lineup

Though Toyota has the highest share of electrified vehicle sales thanks to its domination of the hybrid market, the automaker has been slow to develop all-electric vehicles, preferring to instead focus on hydrogen fuel technologies — something Tesla has criticized.

Nonetheless, the two automakers have lots to benefit from working together. Tesla providing Toyota with EV technology in exchange for a vehicle platform — thus tapping into one of the world’s most respected and efficient production systems — plays into both of their hands.

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With Toyota’s help, Tesla may just be able to launch the affordable, compact electric car it promised for 2023 — at an intended price point of $25,000, experts said it wasn’t possible — and with Tesla’s help, Toyota would get a much-needed jolt in the EV sector.

Partnerships of all kinds are now common among automakers, tech leaders, and even startups doing anything that could be remotely useful for future mobility. More poignantly, both Toyota and Tesla are currently working with Panasonic, and even Toyota and Tesla have worked together in the past to build the now-discontinued Toyota RAV4 EV.