Toyota RAV4 EV shown

10 Jan, 2012 6:29pm Dan Strong

Toyota reveals plans for two new electric vehicles at the Detroit Motor Show

Toyota is teaming up with Tesla to build a new electrically powered Toyota RAV4 EV. The firm showed the car at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show, alongside its new concept, the NS4 Plug-in hybrid.

Based on a conventional RAV4 SUV, the front-wheel-drive car gets a 150bhp electric motor connected to a huge 50kW/h battery. By comparison, the battery connected to the Nissan Leaf is about half the size, able to store up to 24kW/h. Thanks to the size of the RAV4's batteries, it's believed that a full charge will take around 12 hours from a conventional plug socket.

This would give the car a range of 150 miles, and performance to rival six-cylinder engined rivals, with a 0-60mph time of less than nine seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 100mph.

Production of the new car has already begun, but volumes are likley to remain in the hundreds, while Toyota evaluates Tesla's battery technology and records customer driving habits. According to the firm, the aim is "to grow trust in the product, and gain experience".

But the RAV4 is not the only new EV the Japanese company is working on. Toyota has also announced that an electric version of the iQ will be sold in the US under youth brand Scion in 2012.

With a range of just 50 miles, the car is unlikley to be sold to the general public, and instead will be leased to car sharing schemes and clubs, in an effort to build greater understanding of how the cars perform in the real world.