Tesla Readying Electric SUVs for Toyota: Report

RAV4, Lexus RX two models being worked on

By Jackson West
|  Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010  |  Updated 4:34 PM PDT
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SAN RAFAEL, CA - JANUARY 21: A brand new Toyota RAV4 is displayed on the Toyota of Marin sales lot January 21, 2010 in San Rafael, California. Toyota announced today that is recalling 2.3 million late model Toyota cars and trucks for a potential problem with the accelerator pedal sticking. The automaker previously recalled 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles for a similar problem with floor mats causing the accelerator pedal to become stuck. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Tesla announced last week that it was working on two all-electric prototype vehicles for Toyota, and now an anonymous source has revealed which models to Bloomberg Businessweek: the RAV4 and Lexus RX.

The two SUVs are reportedly a better fit for the weight of the batteries than the ubiquitous Corolla or the Prius hybrid.

Toyota is mostly interested in checking out Tesla's battery pack technology, which uses hundreds of lithium-ion cells normally used in consumer electronics instead of typical car batteries.

It could also help Panasonic, which makes batteries for Toyota's hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars, develop more efficient battery packs from scratch. Tesla currently uses stock batteries normally sold to laptop manufacturers.

Toyota recently invested $50 million and signed a $42 million deal that will allow Tesla to manufacture its Model S sedan at the NUMMI plant in Fremont.

Jackson West can hardly wait to be run over by an all-electric RAV4 while riding his bike.

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