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Toyota To Show RAV EV at L.A. Show; Launch of Prius Plug-In Pushed Back to Mid-‘12

Maker expanding battery-driven line-up.

by on Sep.14, 2010

Toyota will reveal a battery-powered version of the RAV4 at the upcoming L.A. Auto Show.

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.

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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.

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Ford Betting Big on Battery Power

Cost cuts critical to advanced hybrids, plug-ins and pure EVs, says Kuzak.

by on Jul.22, 2009

Ford hopes to launch its first commercial battery-electric vehicle, the Transit Connect EV, in 2010, with a battery-powered Focus to follow a year later.

Ford hopes to launch its first commercial battery-electric vehicle, the Transit Connect EV, in 2010, with a battery-powered Focus to follow a year later.

Battery-powered vehicles, whether hybrids, plug-ins or pure battery-electric vehicles, “are the future,” says Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally.  But while the automaker has committed to bring all three forms of battery vehicles to market in the next few years, Ford officials warn that it will take significant reductions in cost to move such technology into the mainstream.

With the recent launch of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, the second generation of the company’s hybrid-electric vehicles, Ford has been able to cut costs for the underlying hybrid technology by 30%, and the automaker is targeting yet another 30% reduction with its Gen-3 battery technology, global product chief Derrick Kuzak tells TheDetroitBureau.com

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“We know how to make the technology work,” says Kuzak, so now we’re working on affordability.”  But the soft-spoken executive quickly stresses that, “We can’t do this by ourselves.”

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