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PHOTO CAPTION: Toyota RAV4 EV is Tesla-Powered. Photo:EV World

Tesla-Developed Batteries for RAV4 EV Could Drive Down Costs

Company estimates cost of battery backs could be one-third that of systems being developed by other electric car manufacturers.

Published: 12-Jan-2011

Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T) (TM.N) top engineer said the batteries that would power the electric RAV4 crossover being developed with Tesla Motors (TSLA.O) could cost as little as one-third of the electric car batteries being developed by conventional automakers.

Silicon Valley startup Tesla links together thousands of lithium-ion batteries used in laptops to power its zero-emission Roadster sports car, while automakers with electric models such as Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T) and Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) use expensive batteries developed specifically for EV use.

"If (Tesla's battery structure) works, we won't have to wait for a breakthrough in battery technology to develop a relatively cheap electric vehicle," Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada, who heads Toyota's research and development, told Reuters in an interview at the Detroit auto show on Tuesday.

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