When Toyota and Tesla announced a partnership earlier this year one of the stated aims was to collaborate on an electric version of the RAV4 – here it is. Unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the RAV4 EV Demonstration Vehicle is based on the current combustion engine model with modifications to the suspension and steering plus minor styling changes like a new front bumper, grille and head lamps and of course – the inclusion of an electric powertrain and Tesla supplied battery pack. Toyota points out that there are many decisions yet to be made before the final specs of the RAV4 EV – which is slated to go into production in 2012 – are finalized.
A demonstration fleet of 35 vehicles is planned with a target range of 100 miles in "actual road driving patterns" along with "driveability characteristics as close to the conventional RAV4 as possible."
The vehicle currently being tested has a mid-30 kwh range lithium metal oxide battery and Toyota says that despite the extra 220 pounds that the battery adds over the conventional V6 model, the RAV4 EV demonstrator will accelerate from zero to sixty almost as fast.
Aside from the revised bumper, grille and lights, the demonstrator has been given EV badging and a custom paint color plus interior styling changes including multimedia dash displays, push-button shifter and dashboard meters to monitor the battery and electrical system. Components have also been rearranged to cater for the electric drive, but this has not resulted in any loss of cargo space.
There's no firm commitment on production volume, price, business model or final specs at this stage of the process, but Toyota hoes to have the EV to market in 2012.
Tesla will build the battery and related parts at its new Californian factory, but no final decision has been made on where final assembly will take place.
This is actually the second-generation Toyota RAV4 EV. The company released 1,484 first-generation RAV4 EVs between 1998 and 2003, 746 of which are still on the road.
Toyota has a dedicated RAV4 EV site here.