Tesla says battery-supply deal for Toyota RAV4 EV to end

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May 9, 2014 – 9:51 pm ET

LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) — Tesla Motors Inc. said its deal to supply Toyota Motor Corp. with battery packs and motors for a rechargeable crossover will conclude this year.

Toyota, which owns a 2.4 percent stake in Tesla, said in May 2012 it would buy the company’s components for 2,600 electric RAV4 EVs over three years. Tesla CEO Elon Musk had said he expected Toyota to extend the agreement that was initially worth as much as $100 million, based on a July 2011 filing.

“Toyota is expected to end the current RAV4 EV model this year,” Tesla said Friday in a quarterly filing. While the supply deal generated $15.1 million of revenue for Tesla in the quarter that ended March 31, “our production activities under this program are expected to end in 2014,” Tesla said.

Conclusion of the Toyota program comes as Tesla expands global sales of Model S sedans, priced starting at $71,000, and readies the electric Model X crossover for delivery in 2015 as well as a lower-priced rechargeable sedan due in two to three years. The company also is ramping up supplies of components for investor Daimler AG’s electric Mercedes B-class car as it plans a battery “gigafactory” to cut lithium-ion cell costs by 30 percent.

Toyota hasn’t announced plans to conclude the RAV4 EV program, said John Hanson, a company spokesman.

“This was a project for a specific number of vehicles that we planned to sell for a specific number of years,” Hanson said. “We have not made any announcement about the relationship or what we’ll do with Tesla in the future.”

Models such as the RAV4 EV sell mainly in California, which requires large automakers to offer some pollution-free vehicles. Toyota has sold 1,594 electric RAV4s since 2012 through April, according to reports from the company.

In 2015, Toyota is to begin California sales of a hydrogen fuel cell sedan, another type of zero-emission vehicle that fulfills California’s ZEV mandate.

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