Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lithium Drive: LA 2010: Seduced by Lithium - Toyota RAV4 EV, powered by Tesla tsla, tnr.v, rm.v, lmr.v, alk.ax, sqm, fmc, roc, lit, li.v, wlc.v, clq.v, res.v, ree, avl.to, nsany, f, gm, rno.pa, dai, byddf, hev, aone, vlnc


  For those who are following the evolution in EV space and Lithium market, this is a truly ground breaking event.
  Finally, Toyota is jumping on the Lithium Drive bandwagon and buying time with its Tesla partnership - RAV4 EV truly looks very solid to us. It is a great proposition to those, who would not like to sacrifice anything in their SUV life style after the Oil Shock.

  Pricing will make all the difference here - this car can become the "mass market EV" for the upper-band of the market space. If it can be priced below 50k dollars and have a range of at least 100 miles - it will be a hit. Toyota is in the right place - its production capacity could provide necessary cost structure advantage and the desire to beat Nissan with its Leaf will drive the modest negative margin in the roll out phase. The kicker could be the Renault battery leasing scheme - Toyota can afford itself to match Renault and provide battery lease for 100-120 USD per month with all trouble about the battery, its pricing and warranty taking out of the consumer decision factors.
18 Nov 2010 03:16:28 GMT
Source: Reuters
TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp's <7203.T> battery-powered electric car will have the advantage of being cheaper than models offered by other car makers, a top executive said on Thursday.
Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada said he could not specify a price range for the planned electric car based on Toyota's tiny iQ car, which is smaller than Mitsubishi Motors Corp's <7211.T> i-MiEV and Nissan Motor Co's <7201.T> upcoming five-seater Leaf. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Joseph Radford)



1. Toyota RAV4 EV at Los Angeles Auto Show.
2. New partnerships on power-trains development - this line of business could be actually a real money maker in the nearest future.
3. Model S specs and pricing to be confirmed.
Tesla has made a very interesting vertically integrated business line with Panasonic supplying lithium cells for the batteries and the basis for mass market industrial battery production and Toyota providing a base for the mass market EV production cycle. Tesla can occupy the premium market segment in EVs, with higher margins, but still participate in volume productions of budget versions of EVs for the Electric Cars mass market."




"Proudly "Powered by Tesla," the brand-new Toyota RAV4 EV made its debut at the LA Auto Show today, and it's pretty much what you'd expect: a current-generation RAV4 with the heart of a Tesla Roadster. Or maybe a Model S. In any case, one of Silicon Valley's electric cars. As we've known, Tesla's role in the partnership is to develop the powertrain – including the battery, power electronics module, electric motor, gearbox and software – for Toyota's popular CUV.

The RAV4 EV has a long history, as long-time plug-in vehicle fans are well aware. The first-gen version arrived in 1997 and was available for six years. Toyota said today that it sold or leased 1,484 units during that time – and that nearly 750 of them are still in operation – but could never make them a mainstream hit like the Prius. Making these alternative-power vehicles isn't that difficult, said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales' president and chief operating officer, the hard part is bringing them to mainstream customers.

This is the goal of the RAV4 EV, which is scheduled to hit the market in 2012. The initial batch of test vehicles, the so-called Phase Zero machines, are already achieving 100 miles of range, but Toyota engineers are working hard to make sure that the Phase One vehicles (i.e., the next batch) will be able to reach that number no matter what the climate or outside condition is – or, in the words of the press release, "in a wide range of climates and conditions." The engineering team is also focused on drivability and making the electric CUV feel, "as close to a conventional RAV4 as possible." We'll have a more complete post about the RAV4 EV later, but for now you can find plenty more information on Toyota's dedicated RAV4 EV website and check it out from every angle in the gallery below."

PRESS RELEASE

TOYOTA DEBUTS 100-MILE RANGE, RAV4 EV DEMONSTRATION VEHICLE AT LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW
Toyota/Tesla Collaboration To Build, Demonstrate And Evaluate 35 Vehicles: Fully Engineered Second-Generation RAV4 EV Slated For 2012 On-Sale Date

LOS ANGELES, November 17, 2010 -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) debuted today the second-generation Toyota RAV4 EV at a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show. A total of 35 vehicles will be built for a demonstration and evaluation program through 2011, aiming at market arrival of a fully-engineered vehicle in 2012. The fully-engineered vehicle will have a target range of 100 miles in actual road driving patterns, in a wide range of climates and conditions.

"When we decided to work together on the RAV4 EV, President Akio Toyoda wanted to adopt a new development model that incorporated Tesla's streamlined, quick-action approach," said Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer, TMS. "The result was a hybrid – a new decision and approval process and a development style that our engineers refer to as "fast and flexible."

Led by the Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America (TEMA) Technical Center in Michigan, the new development model helped reduce development time without compromising product quality. The team has accomplished this by approaching the project as they would a typical mid-cycle "major-minor" product change. Specifically, midway through a generation, the team began with a fully engineered current-generation RAV4, to which was added a major powertrain option, along with minor feature and cosmetic changes.

Tesla was responsible for building and supplying the battery, as well as other related parts, that met specific Toyota engineering specifications in performance, quality and durability. Toyota was responsible for development and manufacturing leadership and the seamless integration of the powertrain.

"From the beginning, the customer experience has been the focus," said Lentz. "In other words, how do we deliver an unconventional product to mainstream customers that is compelling and affordable and that offers an acceptable level of daily convenience."

A large part of the team's focus on the customer experience targeted driveability. In this case, the end goal is a vehicle with driveability characteristics as close to the conventional RAV4 as possible.

For example, the demonstration vehicle weighs approximately 220 pounds more than the current RAV4 V6 yet it will accelerate from zero to sixty nearly as quickly.

This added weight factor required significant retuning of major components and a prioritized focus on weight distribution. Not only were suspension and steering modified significantly, major components needed to be relocated to better balance the increased mass of the battery pack.

The demonstration vehicle Toyota is currently testing is powered by a lithium metal oxide battery with useable output rated in the mid-30 kwh range. However, many decisions regarding both the product, as well as the business model, have not been finalized. Battery size and final output ratings, as well as pricing and volume projections of the vehicle Toyota plans to bring to market in 2012, have not been decided.

As for a final assembly location, Toyota is considering many options and combinations. The basic vehicle will continue to be built at its Canadian production facility in Woodstock, Ontario. Tesla will build the battery and related parts and components at its new facility in Palo Alto, Calif. The method and installation location of the Tesla components into the vehicle is being discussed.

The RAV4 EV received several distinct exterior styling changes including a new front bumper, grille, fog lamps and head lamps. New EV badging and the custom "mutually exclusive" paint color, completed the transformation. The interior received custom seat trim, multimedia dash displays, push-button shifter and dashboard meters. The RAV4 platform brings a 73-cubic-foot cargo area with rear seats folded down – no cargo space was lost in the conversion to an electric powertrain.
In 1997, Toyota brought to market the first-generation RAV4 EV in response to the California zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate and was the first manufacturer to meet the mandate's Memo of Agreement on volume sales. Powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, the vehicle had a range of between 80-110 miles on a single charge. From model year 1998 to model year 2003, only 1,484 vehicles were sold or leased in the U.S. 746 first-generation RAV4 EVs are still on the road (www.toyotarav4ev.com).

"Price and convenience proved to be critical success factors and they remain so today," said Lentz. "But much has changed in the last few years. Most importantly, the growing level of awareness that sustainable mobility will come at a cost that must be shared by the automakers, government and the consumer."

Toyota's approach to sustainable mobility focuses on the world's future reliance on mobility systems tailored to specific regions or markets, rather than individual models or technologies. It acknowledges that no one technology will be the "winner" and that a mobility system in Los Angeles will probably look very different from one in Dallas or New York or London or Shanghai.
Toyota's comprehensive technology strategy is a portfolio approach that includes a long-term commitment to hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and battery electrics all driven by the further proliferation of conventional gas-electric hybrids, like Prius as its core technology.

Toyota has announced that coinciding with the arrival of the RAV4 EV in 2012 it will launch, in key global markets, the Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid) and a small EV commuter vehicle. It will also launch, in key global markets, its first commercialized hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in calendar year 2015, or sooner. Finally, by the end of 2012, Toyota will add seven all new (not next-generation) hybrid models to its portfolio.


TOYOTA RAV4 EV PERFORMANCE/SPECS
Exterior:

* Unique front and rear styling
* LED Foglamps
* 18" Alloy wheels
* Special pearl white paint with aqua base – "mutually exclusive"

Interior:

* Smart key system with push button start
* Combination synthetic leather and fabric seating surfaces
* Touch screen DVD Navigation system
* Cargo volume equal to 2010 RAV4

Mechanical:

* Powerful electric motor with Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack
* Zero emission vehicle (ZEV)
* Class-leading driving range, acceleration, and top speed
* Real world driving range of approximately 100 miles"


AutoBlogGreen:


Following the unveiling of the brand-new Toyota RAV4 EV, "Powered by Tesla," at the LA Auto Showyesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales' president and chief operating officer shared a few more details about the vehicle and the partnership. You can get the details on the vehicle here, but people who are interested in the future of Tesla as a strong force in promoting and building electric vehicles (EVs), read on.

Perhaps most important for the plug-in vehicle sector as a whole, Musk said he was confident that lithium-ion battery costs could – could – come down to $300 per kilowatt hour by 2013 at the pack level. "I'm not predicting that," he said, "but it's difficult but achievable – with continued achievements from there." Even if he's off by a few tens of dollars per kWh and a year or two, this is getting into seriously affordable EV and plug-in hybrid territory for more drivers.

Tesla is in a pretty good space right now, even we haven't heard that Roadsters sales are any higher than 1,300, a number we've heard for ages. The Silicon Valley automaker has two high-profile deals with big OEMs – Toyota and Daimler – and Musk said Tesla has turned down "many" deals with other OEMS. "The reason we would turn down something," he said "is because we didn't think the ultimate product would be really compelling."



Tesla is keeping busy with getting the Nummi factory ready for Model S production, and maybe more (oh, and it's not called Nummi any more, it's the Tesla Factory). Musk said the Tesla Factory in Fremont has an annual capacity of roughly 500,000 vehicles. Tesla expects to make around 20,000 Model S vehicles there a year, so if Toyota decides to make the RAV4 EV there – and it is a Toyota decision – Musk said "that would be kind of cool."

In preparation for the Model S, Tesla has been installing factory equipment there for several months. The automaker has around 900 employees now, and is hiring around 50 people a month right now. The next big manufacturing milestone comes next year when the aluminum stamping line and the paint shop go into operation. This is all in preparation for Tesla to start delivering the first Model S cars in mid-2012. Musk said that setting up these assembly lines is one example of how Tesla's partnerships with Toyota and Daimler have come in especially handy:





It is a two-say street. We're giving Toyota a window into the entrepreneurial, Silicon Valley culture and, vice versa, we're getting a sense for the Toyota production system. Everything we make for Toyota has to pass very stringent quality standards. We have a little bit of experience with that with Daimler, because Mercedes obviously has very high standards as well, but I think we're learning a lot form Toyota, bidirectionally, in this process and I think that helps us with the Model S. Having access to Lexus components in the supply chain is also helpful.
elon muskThe Model S, though is still very much a Tesla vehicle, and this is something that Musk said he wants to emphasize in the near future. An "exploded view" of the prototype Model S will be on display at the Detroit Auto Show in January. "We will be focusing on the vehicle engineering side of things rather than powertrain," he said. "People understand our powertrain stuff, but they don't really know that we've got great vehicle engineering." Another example of this is the SUV version of the Model S, a concept prototype of which might be unveiled at the end of 2011. "I'm not saying we will," Musk said, "but hopefully."

As for the recent increase in the TSLA stock price, Musk said, "We appreciate the optimism that investors have about the stock. I will work hard to make sure it's not misplaced." Musk said he expects Tesla to be a profitable company in 2013, the first full year of Model S production. He admitted he hasn't been following the General Motors IPO very closely, but did congratulate the company on it.

Back to the RAV4 EV, Lentz said that, initially, the RAV4 EV will be sold in "California and California emissions states" (i.e., these: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona) until Toyota is certain it can perform well everywhere. Musk chimed in to say that Tesla Roadsters are performing well in Norway and hot desert climates.

Long-time first-gen RAV4 EV driver Paul Scott told AutoblogGreen that the new RAV4 EV is a fine return to form for Toyota:
I'm very excited that Toyota has seen the light to bring back this amazing EV. Using Tesla's battery pack is a terrific idea since the cache of Tesla will give the SUV some marketing sparks. I predict the new RAV EV will be a strong competitor to the Honda, Ford, GM and Nissan EVs. But, as a Leaf salesman, I'm really glad to have a mostly open field in which to sell."



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