Toyota has been the leading protagonist in the car market, but the Japanese auto maker will shortly extend its range to the world of electric cars with the RAV4 EV -- an electric version of its RAV4 SUV developed in conjunction with Tesla Motors.
Toyota and Tesla are keeping extremely quiet on the exact specs of the car, but it's reasonable to expect the RAV4 EV will feature a version of the motor found in the Tesla Model S electric saloon. It should also feature one, or a choice of, the Model S' batteries, which provide either 160, 230 or 300 miles of driving range.
If the RAV4 EV's specs are anything like the Model S', it's likely the RAV4 EV will have pretty exciting performance. The petrol RAV4 is a relatively large car, but it's not especially heavy. We're hoping the electric version will offer speeds closer to the Model S' 5.5 second 0-60mph acceleration time than the 10.6 seconds it takes the petrol RAV4.
This isn't the first time we've seen an electric RAV4. Toyota built an all-electric version for limited volume leasing between 1997 and 2003, 1,900 of which were sold.
That car had a 27.4kWh NiMH battery pack that helped deliver a 0-60mph time of around 18 seconds, a top speed of 78 miles per hour and a range of between 80 and 120 miles.
This new model will be completely different and is the result of of Toyota's $50m investment in Tesla, which gave the Japanese company a 2.5 per cent stake and access to its battery technology. In paperwork filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last month, Tesla disclosed that Toyota was paying Tesla an additional $60 million to develop the RAV4 EV.
The new RAV4 EV will be unveiled at the LA Auto Show on 17 November 2010.