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Mike Stevens | Nov 18, 2010

The result of a collaborative effort between Toyota and electric dynamo Tesla, the Toyota RAV4 EV has made its LA Auto Show debut today.

On the outside, Toyota's new electric vehicle looks like little more than a regular RAV4 with a new bumper and grille. Under the covers however, this electrified SUV is powered by an electric motor and battery park developed together by Toyota and Tesla Motors.

While Toyota managed development of the powertrain, Tesla was responsible for building and supplying the battery systems.

"From the beginning, the customer experience has been the focus," Toyota's Jim Lentz said. "In other words, how do we deliver an unconventional product to mainstream customers that is compelling and affordable and that offers an acceptable level of daily convenience?"

Technical details for the RAV4 EV's motor have yet to be revealed, but Toyota claims a driving range of around 160km will be achievable. Also, while weighing around 100kg more than the regular RAV4 V6, Toyota says the EV will hit 100km/h "nearly as quickly."

To achieve this, Toyota focused on modifying the RAV4's suspension and steering, while relocating major components to better balance the increased mass brought by the battery pack.

Inside, the RAV4 EV gets a new push-button gear shifter, displays and meters specific to the EV and a new trim.

Toyota plans to build 35 vehicles that will take part in a test fleet throughout 2011, with a view to putting the RAV4 EV into production sometime in 2012.

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