Tesla Building Electric Rav4 SUV For Toyota

Illustration for article titled Tesla Building Electric Rav4 SUV For Toyota

In May, Toyota stated its intention to invest $50 million in electric car maker Tesla Motors. Today, the companies announced that Tesla will produce an electric version of the Rav4 SUV for Toyota in 2012.

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This won't be the first electric Rav4—an earlier electric version, the Rav4 EV, was manufactured on a limited basis from 1997 until 2003—but Tesla's design will be much more widely available. Tesla's currently at work on their first electric Rav prototype and are aiming deliver it later this year, hopefully manufacturing the vehicle for the public by 2012. [Money]

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DISCUSSION

This is a step in the direction that I think Tesla will be forced to go. In my opinion, they're only means of staying afloat is to become an electric drive-train developer. They don't have the resources to compete with other car companies right now as a full car developer. They may continue to make very low volume electric vehicles to advertise their products but I fully expect this to be their MO (making other car company's car into EVs) at least until the big companies are able to learn enough from Tesla to cut them out completely.

Realistically, they've been doing this from the start though, in a way. The roadster is based of a Lotus Elise.