Look for Toyota to pull the wraps off a new battery-driven version of the RAV4 at the upcoming Los Angeles Motor Show. It will be the first product of a new joint venture between the Japanese maker and the California start-up Tesla Motors.
Meanwhile, the company has also announced that it will begin delivering a plug-in version of the Prius hybrid to North American showrooms by May or June of 2012. That comes about 18 months later than the company had initially indicated.
That delayed debut will come at about the same time Toyota will launch six new global hybrid vehicles, all of which will reach market by the end of 2012, according to Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada.
The alliance between Toyota and Tesla has generated plenty of industry discussion and debate since it was first announced last June. Initially, the Japanese giant said it would be willing to invest $50 million in the California firm’s IPO, which later proved unexpectedly successful. Toyota also announced it would turn over the abandoned NUMMI plant, in Fremont, California, to Tesla to use to produce the smaller maker’s planned Model S battery sedan.