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Toyota, Tesla Resurrect the Electric RAV4

• Chuck Squatriglia via WIRED

Toyota and Tesla Motors are going back to the future to update the RAV4 EV, essentially resurrecting an excellent electric vehicle the Japanese company killed seven years ago.

The two companies announced today that they will develop the vehicle with a goal of producing it in 2012, bringing cheers from EV advocates thrilled by the return of a vehicle they adore. It’s a brilliant move for everyone involved. Toyota, which has so far been lukewarm about EVs, gets something on the road quickly and cheaply. And Tesla gets its drivetrain in more vehicles.

“Basically, for a net investment of $8 million, Toyota has gotten itself a ready-made EV program,” said Aaron Bragman, an auto industry analyst for IHS Global Insight. “Toyota is behind the ball when it comes to fully electric vehicles. This is them playing some serious catch-up and doing it for relatively little investment.”

Both companies also  get some good PR when they need it. Toyota’s been hit by yet another round of recalls, and Tesla’s stock price fell below its initial offering price earlier this month. The company’s stock rose almost 4 percent today on the announcement.

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