The Tesla/Toyota partnership announced earlier this year has already borne fruit with the revealing of the electric version of the RAV4. Unveiled at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium, 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 headlamps, and of course, the inclusion of an electric powertrain and Tesla supplied battery pack.
Specs for the EV Rav4
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 vehicle 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 to the electric drive, but this has not resulted in any loss of cargo space.
When Will the EV Rav4 Be Available?
There's no firm commitment on production volume, price, business model, or final specs at this stage of the process, but Toyota hopes to have the EV on the market by the end of 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.
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