Toyota Rav4 EV

We caught our first glimpse of Toyota’s RAV4 EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and while details are still not finalized, the Japanese automaker plans to offer it to customers by 2012.

As expected, the RAV4 is based off the current model, with most of the changes under the sheetmetal. Called a “development model”, Toyota plans to roll out the EV in two phases, with 35 vehicles to be built for a demonstration and evaluation program through 2011, and the production version to hit the road in 2012.

Partner Tesla, of course, will handle building and suppling the EV’s battery and related parts. The development model will be powered by a lithium metal oxide battery. Toyota states that while the development model is approximately 220 pounds heavier than the RAV4 equipped with a V-6, its 0-60 mph figures are nearly identical.

Exterior changes include new EV badges, custom “mutually exclusive” paint color, front bumper, grille, and fog and head lamps. Inside, seating gets its own unique trim while the multimedia dash displays, push-button shifter and dashboard meters get a refresh. Cargo capacity, surprisingly, is identical to the non-EV models.

Toyota was vague about the 2012 model, stating battery size, power output, pricing, and the even the very business model has not yet been decided.

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