Toyota + Tesla = hope for the electric car

Bedfellows don’t get much stranger than Toyota and Tesla, who’ve just partnered to create an all-electric RAV4.

If viable, the machine would help Toyota get over the hump of its gasoline dependence while putting a Tesla power train into vehicles that regular people can own. Tesla is the only automaker in the U.S. that builds and sells highway-capable EVs in meaningful volume, claiming over 1,000 Roadsters driving emissions-free in more than 25 countries.

You already know about Toyota’s prim gas/electric hybrid.

Tesla’s racy Roadster, with an MSRP of $109,000, is an all-electric sports car that can go 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and travel 244 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack.

Tesla plans to produce and deliver a fleet of all-electric RAV4 prototypes to Toyota for evaluation within the year.

Can the new RAV4 make people forget the runaway death Prius? Can it teach Toyota about harnessing reliable power from laptop batteries? Can  it bring the electric car concept (and price) down to earth?

Let’s hope.   This has been done before, sort of. Toyota made 1,500 electric RAV4s between 1997 and 2003. Actor Ed Begley Jr. still has one: