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 |  Nov 17 2010, 7:43 PM


Toyota‘s collaboration with American electric car maker Tesla Motors has been described by many as a publicity stunt, but Toyota’s announcement to build 35 test models with plans for a full production model in 2012 is silencing doubters.

Debuting at the LA Auto Show, the RAV4 EV Demonstration Vehicle looks like an Acura RDX thanks to some funky bodywork. Toyota says its targeting a 100-mile range for the car which is 220-lbs heavier than the standard gasoline model, but can accelerate to 60-mph in roughly the same amount of time.

There’s far more to this project than just swapping out the gas engine for an electric motor and some batteries, however, with Toyota claiming that in order to achieve a similar weight distribution, several major components had to be redesigned. Of note, the EV model retains the factory crossover’s 74 cubic feet or cargo room

Toyota Motor Sales President Jim Lentz, commented in LA that many of the final decisions have yet to be made about the RAV4 EV’s production, including where it will be built. Currently the RAV4 vehicle comes from Toyota’s facility in Woodstock, Ontario while Tesla does its part in Palo Alto, Calif.

And while Toyota rolls out this new electric vehicle concept, it’s not betting on electric cars – or any one type of technology for that matter. In the timeframe it takes to bring the RAV4 EV to market, Toyota will also launch its own electric commuter vehicle, as well as a Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

GALLERY: Toyota RAV4 EV Debut in LA




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Official release after the jump:

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