TRAVERSE CITY, MI – All ’12 RAV4 electric vehicles destined for the U.S. will be sourced from’s operations in Ontario, Canada, a top company official tells Ward’s.
“Yes, we’re just going into final details right now,”Motor North America Senior Vice President Ray Tanguay tells Ward’s here on the sidelines of the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars.
“Obviously we’re not going to (import it from) Japan – that would make no sense,” Tanguay says, hinting the auto maker’s Woodstock plant, currently the sole source of U.S.-market RAV4 cross/utility vehicles, will accommodate the EV model’s output.
The RAV4 EV production site had been a source of conjecture, with initial speculation suggesting Toyota might assemble the model in Fremont, CA, with EV maker.
The Fremont plant, now owned by upstart, was home to Toyota’s former joint venture with .
Tesla, in which Toyota holds a stake, will produce EVs there. Tesla also is collaborating with Toyota on the RAV4 EV’s development.
Tesla has built prototype RAV4 EVs out of its plant in Menlo Park, CA, Toyota spokesman John Hanson told Ward’s last year.
Tesla is set to produce its own Model S electric sedan in Fremont, but the auto maker is expected to use only a small portion of the site, which once built hundreds of thousands of Toyota Corollas, Tacoma compact trucks and Pontiac Vibes per year.
Tanguay says Toyota’s manufacturing side has little contact with Tesla.
The Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, MI, deals with the EV maker. “What I have to do they’ll tell me,” Tanguay laughs.
While he says the precise on-sale date is “still in negotiation,” – Toyota’s U.S. sales arm has set 2012 as the retail launch.
“We don’t know the spec; we don’t know the content. All we know basically is we have an agreement to develop this with Tesla, and we have to assemble that vehicle in North America,” Tanguay says.
Officially, Toyota is mum. Spokesman Mike Goss says today a final production site has not been chosen.
Besides the RAV4 EV, Toyota will launch between now and through 2012 six new hybrids. All are part of a 2-year product blitz that will see the auto maker introduce 20 new or refreshed models in the U.S. between 2011-2013.