Tesla Motors is again having financial troubles these days, as their shares fell by 7 percent, down to $30.19 in NYSE. The drop has been caused by news that Toyota’s new electric RAV4 will sell for double what it costs in its gasoline version.

Toyota has an agreement with Tesla for using their electric motor, batteries and software. Shareholders are concerned about Toyota’s chance of success with the 100-mile range RAV4.

To make the RAV4 happen, Toyota is paying Tesla $100 million for all the parts needed in the project. Their three-year contract stipulates that Toyota pays $38,462 per vehicle, so the price they actually make little to no profit from the electric SUV.

“We don’t talk about development costs and costs to bring vehicles to market,” John Hanson, a spokesman for Toyota, said today.

Electric vehicle prices have historically been high, but paying $50,000 on a vehicle that only goes 100 miles on a charge is just too expensive. I guess it’s also not Tesla’s fault, as batteries are expensive, and so is their ultra-light electric motor that only weighs 70 pounds.

Car companies should build cheap electric cars. While choosing an expensive motor such as Tesla’s is good for the image, developing an in-house solution more fit to the actual needs of the RAV4 (not a sportscar) could ultimately be a lot cheaper. Price is the variable which interests customers most, as Toyota already has a good name in the industry.

I don’t want to be misinterpreted, I like Tesla Motors and what they’ve done to the auto industry, but decentralization is the key in making electric cars a viable option, in what costs are concerned.

My conclusion: they could’ve made stuff cheaper.

[via businessweek]

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