The all-electric RAV4 is set to make a comeback. But this time around Tesla Motors is going to provide the electric powerplant, rather than Toyota themselves. In fact, Tesla might even be doing the bulk of the assembling if this CNN Money report is correct.
Toyota announced that the Japanese auto maker planned to invest $50 million into Tesla after a successful initial public offering. That took place a couple weeks back on June 29 and this is the first we’re seeing from the investment.
This isn’t the first all-electric plug-in RAV4. Toyota produced the first model back in the ’90s and in fact some are still running around the streets. The one embedded about is part of the fleet is still used by Southern California Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center.
The RAV4 has changed a bit since that model, though. The model is on its 3rd generation platform and is significantly more bulky. It’s longer, taller and weighs a good amount more. The original model was based on a Corolla platform and could be considered a micro SUV. Not anymore.
However, the larger build might help Tesla more than it hurts. It might be heavier than other Tesla models, but the larger platform probably provides more space and better suspension for the heavy liquid cooled lithium ion battery packs. The first batch of is supposed to hit before the year’s end with the model being widely for the 2012 model year.
But maybe supercars are more your thing. Toyota and Tesla are reportable working on one of those, too. Maybe something to compete against the Mercedes-Benz or Audi models. This could be awesome.
The story goes that Toyota’s President took a spin in a Tesla Roadster and loved it so much that he immediately approved the project. The powerplant is said to product about 500 HP with electric motors at each wheel providing the movement. But that’s about all Motor Trend knows at this point. It could an entirely new beast or even an electric version of the Lexus LFA.
Either way, Toyota will no doubt be a huge player in the growing electric/hybrid supercar market although they are getting a slightly late start. Many car makers including Porche, Ferrari, and BMW already have next-gen hybrid platforms racing around the Nurburgring just waiting to eat a Toyota for a snack.