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.
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 ShowEnlarge Photo
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 2010Enlarge Photo
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.