While nothing definite is in the works, no one is also closing their doors. The two had collaborated before so it's very likely that Tesla Motors and Toyota may end up working together in the future. There's also a sense of certainty when a CEO for one of the companies will talk about future partnership.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was in Japan Monday to deliver the first of the Model S luxury sedans in Tokyo. In a news conference, he said it's possible within the next two to three years that his company and Toyota could ink a new deal.
Tesla had been supplying motors and batteries for Toyota's RAV4 electric SUVs which went on sale in 2012. The partnership, however, is set to end this year because Toyota only sold 2,000 units of the electric RAV4.
According to Musk, the new deal could call for bigger motor and battery orders but did not share details, saying there are no definite plans. An executive from Toyota supports Musk's statements, noting that it's not like the two companies are ending their relationship. The executive further adds that there are opportunities in North America that Toyota can tap into, most especially those that Tesla may find beneficial as well.
Officially though, Toyota has not commented on the matter.
Tesla purchased California's old NUMMI factory in 2010 after the plant was shut down by Toyota. Today, Tesla is using the facility to manufacture Model S units, while Toyota gained a $50-million stake in Musk's company.
Still, Toyota isn't the only Japanese company on Musk's good side. Tesla also partnered with Panasonic to fund a portion of the Gigafactory the company is building in Nevada. The battery factory will cost about $5 billion and reports are saying Panasonic will be shouldering 30 to 40 percent of the cost.
Panasonic declined to confirm anything but maybe executive vice president Yoshi Yamada is confident enough in Tesla to get a Model S for himself. He is one of the first customers in Japan to get Tesla's flagship.
Tesla is planning to build the biggest lithium-ion battery plant in the world in an effort to not only reduce cell costs for its electric vehicles but to ramp up production as well to keep up with projections that it will be churning out 100,000 vehicles annually by 2015.