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Are Tesla And Toyota Re-Electrifying RAV4EV, Going Supercar?

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Toyota RAV4e electric vehicle, San Francisco, March 2010

Toyota RAV4e electric vehicle, San Francisco, March 2010

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 We've known for some time that Toyota and Tesla are planning on working together on an EV, despite protests to the contrary. But with two separate rumors breaking today this partnership looks ever more likely to produce not one, but potentially two very interesting cars. That's if the rumor mill is correct, of course.

Today two separate sites, each citing insiders within either Tesla or Toyota, claim to have the scoop on the cars that Toyota and Tesla are building together.

One claims that Toyota will be building an electric supercar to rival the recently announced Mercedes SLK AMG E-Cell. The other claims Toyota is re-building the RAV4EV with Tesla's help.

According to MotorTrend.com, an insider close to Tesla has divulged that the company is working on a car which will compete with the Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell, Audi e-tron and Citroen Survolt.

With a planned 0-60 mph time of four seconds and at least 370 kW of power the rumored sportscar would represent a true engineering collaboration between both companies.

Utilizing Tesla's experience from its Roadster and Toyota's racing pedigree from existing Lexus projects the car could revolutionize Toyota's green lineup.

Toyota RAV4 facelift for the 2010 Geneva Motor Show

Toyota RAV4 facelift for the 2010 Geneva Motor Show

Enlarge Photo
While we're excited by the prospect of a fully-fledged electric supercar from Toyota, what seems of more interest is the rumor posted on Autoexpress.co.uk and collaborated by MotorAuthority: Toyota are working on an electrified version of its 2011 RAV4 SUV with help from Tesla.

Details are scarce at the moment, but the details Autoexpress share include a range of 150 miles and a price tag of around $40,000.  Manufacture could take place at Tesla's recently purchased NUMMI plant, which it obtained from Toyota in exchange for $50 million in shares in advance of Tesla's IPO.

Why are we so excited about the possibility of the RAV4 being reborn as an EV?

As our own John Voelcker recently discovered, the 1997-2003 Toyota RAV4EV is still alive, well, and being cherished by those lucky enough to own one, despite being well out of production.

Toyota RAV4e electric vehicle, San Francisco, March 2010

Toyota RAV4e electric vehicle, San Francisco, March 2010

Enlarge Photo
Not only that, but most surviving examples have now covered well over 100,000 miles without a single battery problem or drivetrain hiccup.

The original RAV4EV showed consumers that electric cars didn't have to be slow or small and could provide comfort, performance and enough range packaged inside a familiar five-seat SUV.

While Toyota's last RAV4 EVs were produced in 2003, looked after examples of the car are still exchanging hands for anything up to $40,000 - the target price of the rumored remake.

According to Autoexpress, sources close to Toyota and Tesla cite that the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX are both the most suitable of Toyota's vehicles for conversion to electric as they both have substantial space and strength to install a Tesla-engineered lithium-ion battery pack.

While both are little more than hearsay right now, we can't wait to find out if these are Toyota and Tesla's latest joint project.

There's one thing we do know.

If the specs are correct, both cars already have a market.

[Motortrend.com]  [Autoexpress.co.uk]

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Comments (4)
  1. I would love to get my hands on a remake of the RAV4EV!!!
     
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  2. when i looked up rumor in the dictionary, the first definition says tesla.
    one thing similar about both companies is that they are proven liars.
     
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  3. I am on the list for a Nissan Leaf and will buy one if there is a suitable battery warranty. However, if either the 2000 EV1 or Toyota RAV-4 Electric with NiMH batteries were available today, I would buy either one before the Leaf. We know that both of them have an honest range of over 100 miles, but we do not know the true range of the Leaf.
     
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  4. My earlier comments were not posted. Why?
     
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