Earlier this year, rumors of a Tesla-Toyota tie up hit the interwebs and, shortly thereafter, the two companies had a coming out party of sorts and officially announced that they were pairing up to work on electric vehicles (EVs). Not long after that, a $60 million partnership contract was signed, which made the agreement as official as it gets.
Tesla and Toyota kicked off their collaborative work on the RAV4 EV a while back and we're well aware that the duo plans to whip out the electric SUV at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. The vehicle will showcase a Tesla-developed battery pack, power electronics module, electric motor, transmission and software all wrapped inside the Toyota-supplied RAV4 body. The teaser image (above), released by Toyota, illustrates Tesla's role in the project particularly well.
Production of the new RAV4 EV is scheduled for 2012, but just how many of Toyota's electrified SUVs should we expect to see terrorizing the tarmac? For an answer to that we turn to Tesla's chief executive officer, Elon Musk, who recently told reporters that the RAV4 EV "is a test fleet" and revealed that the initial deal with Toyota puts production volume "in the couple thousand-unit range." That's not to say that another deal, one that expands upon the first agreement, won't be inked but, at least for now, let's assume that the RAV4 EV will be a low-production vehicle. Engineers and execs from Toyota will be on hand at the LA Auto Show, as will we, and we hope to get more details on this electric at that time.