A news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show hosted the debut of the second-generation Toyota RAV4 EV and the announcement was made by Toyota Motor Sales, USA. An evaluation program, in which 35 vehicles will be built for demonstration, will last through the year 2011, planning to obtain for the year 2012 a fully-engineered vehicle.
Called by engineers fast and flexible, the hybrid was the result of a strong wish to incorporate Tesla's streamlined, quick-action approach, as the President Akio Toyoda wanted. The team has accomplised an efficient product without any compromise on the quality, beginning with a fully-engineered current generation RAV4, adding to it a major powertrain option together with some minor changes and features. The battery was built and supplied by Tesla, thus meeting specific Toyota engineering specifications regarding quality, performance and durability, the focus being the customer experience. The demonstration car weighs about 220 pounds more than the current RAV4 V6, an added weight which required important retuning of significant components, such as suspension and steering.
Many options and combinations are available regarding the assembly location.
Exterior styling changes were added to the RAV4 EV, including a new grille, new front bumper, head lamps and fog lamps. The transformation is completed by new "EV" badging and the custom "mutually exclusive" paint color.
The arrival of the RAV4 EV in 2012 coincides with the launch of the Prius PHV, a plug-in hybrid and a small EV commuter vehicle, planning to add, by the end of 2012, seven new hybrid models to its range.
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