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Tesla-Powered RAV4 To Be Assembled In Canada

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On: Sat, Aug 6, 2011 at 12:09PM | By: Chris Salamone

Tesla-Powered RAV4 To Be Assembled In Canada

In a joint venture, Toyota aims to have Tesla provide an electric powertrain for next year’s RAV4 EV. Amidst confusion as to where the vehicles would actually be assembled, Toyota Motor Corp. recently announced that the upcoming RAV4 electric vehicle would be built in-house next year, rather than at the Tesla Motors Inc. plant in California. The companies said, just yesterday, that Toyota’s Tesla-powered EV would be assembled in Woodstock, Ontario—the current home of RAV4 production.

Thus far, neither Toyota nor Tesla have provided either production volume estimates or pricing for the RAV4 EV. However, we do know that Toyota will cut a check for $100 million to Tesla for an electric powertrain made to fit the RAV4. Having a specific dollar amount tends to suggest that this arrangement will probably be for a pre-determined quantity and duration, rather than a completely open deal to provide goods as needed. Models should begin arriving in dealerships in 2012.

The powertrain components provided by Tesla include the RAV4’s battery module, electric motor, gear box, and electronic components.

Meanwhile, Toyota’s EV powertrain deal with Tesla has provided a much needed cash infusion for the fledgling luxury EV company. Tesla is currently restructuring and preparing their Fremont, California plant (which ironically used to produce Corolla sedans) for the company’s latest EV family sedan: the Model S. Certainly, $100 million will make the transition a bit smoother.

“The Tesla-Toyota joint development team has agreed that building the vehicle at the Woodstock plant, on the same line as the gasoline-powered RAV4, will streamline and simplify the production process and guarantee the highest level of quality control,” noted chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., Ray Tanguay. “This is a great example of Toyota’s determination to collaborate with companies with leading edge technology.”

Back in 1997, Toyota produced its first attempt at the RAV4 EV. The first generation model could travel 80-110 miles on a single charge, powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Toyota estimates that while only 1,484 were sold, more than half of those are still on the road in 2011.

The second generation RAV4 EV should have a real-world range of 100 miles utilizing a lithium-ion battery pack, updated styling, and the same 73-cubic-foot cargo hold as standard RAV4s. A total of 35 RAV4 EVs are slotted to be built during 2011 for testing purposes. Most notably, this upcoming RAV4 EV is intended to reach 100 miles in a much broader range of weather conditions relative to the previous model—an important feature for a vehicle made in Canada.

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