By chance we were hanging around the Tesla stand at the 2011 Detroit auto show when Akio Toyoda (and an entourage of several) walked up and started sizing up the Model S—shown in 'body-in-white,' structurally exposed form for the first time at Detroit. Tesla engineers jumped to the task, showing him through noteworthy structural points.
However, it's not as if Toyota and Tesla aren't already friendly. Toyota is using Tesla's powertrain technology for its RAV4 Electric demonstration model, and the major automaker also owns a small share of Tesla.
The 2013 Tesla model S is slated to be produced at the side of the former Toyota/GM NUMMI joint-venture facility in Fremont, California, beginning in 2012, as a 2013 model. Tesla plans to build about 20,000 Model S sedans per year, with a price of $57,400.