Written by R.E. Lord

Electric Toyota RAV4A Toyota RAV4 with a 100-mile range, Tesla-designed battery could be in production by 2012, the automakers announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

With 35 demonstration models of the second-generation electric RAV4 to be built next year, Toyota hopes to market the vehicle with “a target range of 100 miles in actual road driving patterns, in a wide range of climates and conditions” within two years.

The RAV4 EV has a lithium metal oxide battery with useable output rated in the mid-30 kwh range designed by Silicon Valley’s Tesla, while Toyota “was responsible for development and manufacturing leadership and the seamless integration of the powertrain,” the company said.

The demonstration model weighs approximately 220 pounds more than the current RAV4 V6, but it can move from zero to 60 “nearly as quickly,” according to Toyota.

Engineers had to modify the steering and suspension to account for the battery pack, but the company said that “no cargo space was lost in the conversion to an electric powertrain.”

"From the beginning, the customer experience has been the focus," said Toyota President and CEO Jim Lentz in a statement. "In other words, how do we deliver an unconventional product to mainstream customers that is compelling and affordable and that offers an acceptable level of daily convenience."

The battery size, final output ratings, pricing and volume projections are still being worked out, and Toyota has yet to decide where to assemble the vehicle.

“As for a final assembly location, Toyota is considering many options and combinations,” the company said. “The basic vehicle will continue to be built at its Canadian production facility in Woodstock, Ontario. Tesla will build the battery and related parts and components at its new facility in Palo Alto, Calif. The method and installation location of the Tesla components into the vehicle is being discussed. “

The first-generation RAV4 EV debuted in 1997, powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack with a range of between 80-110 miles on a single charge. Toyota sold or leased just 1,484 between 1998 and 2003 in the U.S.; the company says that 746 are still on the road.