Toyota RAV4 EV "first drive" opportunity for news media leading to late summer 2012 launch
The second generation Toyota RAV4 EV, designed in collaboration with Tesla Motors, was shown to news media today for "first drive" opportunities. The all electric SUV will start deliveries through California Toyota dealerships later this summer. While precise specifications have not been released, Toyota "lifted the hood" and "shared developmental and technical details" of the new RAV4 EV.
The new RAV4 EV is a result of a collaboration between Toyota and Tesla. In May 2010 the two companies announced collaboration to develop electric vehicles, parts, production systems and engineering support, and then in June 2010 they announced the new RAV4 EV. Along the way Toyota bought a stake in Tesla Motors, and sold to Tesla a disused factory in Fremont CA which Tesla is now using to manufacture the Tesla Model S. The new RAV4 EV is not assembled in Tesla's factory, but is instead assembled in Toyota's factory in Canada where the gas powered RAV4 is assembled.
The new RAV4 EV was revealed to the public in May 2012, at the EVS26 trade show. To manage the "compressed" (two year) time frame, Toyota developed the eFAST process (early field and suitability testing), a new design protocol put in place for the RAV4 EV to validate and confirm vehicle performance.