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Toyota to reveal RAV4 EV

Electric blue: Toyota will reveal the RAV4 SUV wearing this badge in Los Angeles next week.

Production electric-powered Toyota RAV4 to debut next week at Los Angeles EV show

Toyota logo1 May 2012

By DAVID HASSALL

TOYOTA will unveil the production-ready battery-powered version of its RAV4 compact SUV – the first to benefit from an investment in EV producer Tesla Motors – at an electric vehicle show in Los Angeles next week.

The company said it will debut the new RAV4 EV on Monday, May 7 at the 26th International Electric Vehicle Symposium to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

It will be the first production model to benefit from Toyota’s investment in California-based Tesla, but will be built alongside internal combustion-powered RAV4 variants at Toyota’s Woodstock facility in Ontario, Canada, rather than the former NUMMI plant in California that Tesla took over from Toyota.

The RAV4 EV is not expected to be offered in Australia. It will go on sale in the US around July, initially in California only.

This will be the second time Toyota has produced an electric RAV4, having produced almost 1500 in the late 1990s to meet Californian low-emissions legislation, drawing power from a nickel-metal hydride battery pack.

Last year, Toyota said it would pay Tesla approximately $100 million to supply the electric drivetrain components including battery, motor, transmission and related control electronics, which will be produced at Tesla’s Silicon Valley facility before being shipped to Canada for installation.

8 center imageLeft: The Toyota RAV4 EV concept from 2010.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada chairman Ray Tanguay said building the electric RAV4 alongside the conventional version would “simplify the production process and guarantee the highest level of quality control”.

“This is a great example of Toyota’s determination to collaborate with companies with leading-edge technology,” he said.

Toyota invested $US50 million in Tesla two years ago to jointly develop EV technology and soon after announced the electric RAV4 project.

Tesla converted 32 conventional RAV4s into EV prototypes for testing and demonstration purposes – achieving a 160km battery range in a wide range of climates and conditions – and Toyota claimed there was no lost cargo space over the standard car.

Although weighing about 100kg more than a V6-powered RAV4, the prototypes were said to accelerate from 0-100km/h almost as quickly.

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