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Roadshow Video Reviews
Toyota RAV4 EVTesla and Toyota team up to bring the EV to the next level.
-Well, here it is, the $50 million Rav 4. That's the amount of Toyota's investment in Tesla recently and here is the first fruit of that: a concept (but one's going to be in a test fleet right away) of a Rav 4 second generation electric version because, this time, it's powered by a Tesla powertrain, not something Toyota developed on their own. Kind of interesting for a company which has had a lot of experience with electrification of drivetrains with their Hybrid Synergy Drive, but Toyota feels there's something advantageous and more agile about this partnership going to Tesla. It gives you some indication of how much esteem they hold for Tesla's battery and motor and controller technology. Now, what does that mean in real world terms? First of all, they're saying it's gonna have a 100-mile real world range. That's giving a little nod to the fact that a lot of electric vehicles out there may state they have a 100-mile range, then you're going to turn on the radio, and you're down to 70. Or, it's cold outside, now you're down to 40 miles. So, they wanna deliver a real world 100. We'll see how they do. As I mentioned, this is gonna be a 35-vehicle test fleet for 2011. For showroom introduction in 2012, that's not too far away for a dramatically different co-engineered vehicle. One of the things I wanna see is they'll badge this thing "powered by Tesla," kind of like an "Intel Inside" program that has got a real high tech flavor to it. Also notice the cargo space, they say, inside will be the exact same as the standard Rav 4. That's their way of saying that this particular battery and electric motor combination is not going to take up floor space, not gonna push the floor or cause other weird intrusions inside. A lot of the usual Toyota dash trim and layout here: it'll have a touch screen nav system as you can see all available, but when you get down here, you see a real difference. That's not Toyota switch gear. That's right out of the most recent Tesla Roadster, almost literally, except the layout's a little different. That's how you control a very different kind of powertrain. And speaking of progressive items, notice this: the car will only be available with a synthetic pleather and fabric composite interior----no real leather. Now, of course, we don't have many other specs on it like 0 to 60, or the nature of the components, or the pricing, because we're still a couple of years away from introduction. But this is a unique proposition so far in the auto industry between a very edgy Silicon Valley upstart and arguably the biggest bear in the woods in traditional auto making.