Toyota RAV4 – Click above for high-res image gallery
Tesla Motors, makers of the battery-powered Roadster and that much-hyped, upcoming Model S, signed a formal agreement in mid-October to assist Toyota with the electrification of its compact SUV, the RAV4. The agreement, a $60-million affair, laid out plans that would put Tesla in charge of developing the battery, power electronics module, electric motor, gearbox and software for Toyota's popular crossover.
With the tie-up finalized and development already underway, one question still remains: where will this battery-electric RAV4 be built? The obvious choice, it seems, is Tesla's plant in Fremont, CA. This plant, formerly known as NUMMI, offers 5.5-million square feet of space. In addition, Tesla's latest newsletter reads:
So, it appear as if the tools are, or will soon be, in place to build a vehicle like the electric RAV4, but neither company is willing to confirm the models final production site just yet, Tesla's vice president of manufacturing, Gilbert Passin, told Green Car Advisor that "it's being decided" and will "be announced pretty soon."In the months since Tesla announced the purchase, negotiations with Nummi have enabled the repurposing of a complete paint shop, four mechanical press lines, a blanking line (used to cut sheets of aluminum before stamping), and a crane for use in the Model S production process. The purchased machinery will simply be retooled and tested before use. The Hydraulic Press Line has started to arrive; 50 trucks are en route to transport the entire line to Fremont.