Toyota, Tesla Move Ahead with Plan to Build All-Electric RAV4

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Toyota Motor (TM) and Tesla Motors (TSLA) are moving forward with a plan to develop an electric version of Toyota's popular RAV4 small sports-utility vehicle, the companies said Friday.

With plans to begin selling the vehicle in the U.S. in 2012, prototypes of a RAV4 outfitted with an all-electric drive train will be made by Tesla and delivered Toyota this year, the companies said in a joint written statement. The first prototype has already been built and is now undergoing testing, they said.

Toyota and Telsa announced intent to cooperate on development of electric vehicles in May, when Toyota committed to investing $50 million in the upstart Tesla, based in Palo Alto, Calif.

News reports earlier this week presaged Friday's announcement. On Monday, Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources, reported that Tesla was preparing to deliver electric versions of a RAV4 as well as a Lexus RX crossover vehicle. Tesla confirmed last week that it would deliver two prototypes to Toyota this month, but didn't specify the models, the news agency said.
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