• The SUV follows up on an all-electric RAV4 Concept shown recently
  • EV maker Tesla supplied the SUV's powertrain
  • The electric RAV4 will be the first all-electric SUV widely available to car shoppers

Toyota recently confirmed that it will soon pull the cover off an all-electric version of its midsize RAV4 SUV. The automaker officially revealed a teaser image of the SUV's emblem ahead of its May 7 global debut at this year's International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exposition in Los Angeles.

While Toyota was tight-lipped on details surrounding the all-electric RAV4 in advance of its debut, the emblem's teaser photo features the word "ELECTRIC" prominently displayed on an exterior surface with the first "E" highlighted in blue. Other exterior revisions will likely mirror the RAV4 EV Concept, which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2010 and featured an updated grille, restyled rear end, unique alloy wheels and a host of "electric" badges displayed throughout its exterior.

But the all-electric RAV4's biggest news is under the hood. While Toyota has not yet announced the SUV's horsepower, range or estimated charging time, the all-electric RAV4 will become the first electric SUV widely available to car shoppers nationwide when it reaches dealers later this year. The electric RAV4 also represents the product of a joint venture between the automaker and California-based EV manufacturer Tesla, who received more than $100 million from Toyota to supply the SUV's fully electric powertrain, battery and transmission.

Toyota has announced few other details regarding the all-electric RAV4, confirming only that the SUV will be built alongside traditional gasoline-powered RAV4 models at its Woodstock assembly plant in southern Ontario, Canada. The automaker has not even confirmed if the SUV will be based on the current RAV4, which debuted for the 2006 model year, or an all new design which is expected to launch in the next few years.

While the upcoming all-electric RAV4 will give most car shoppers their first taste of a fully electric SUV, it will be the second battery powered RAV4 available to consumers. The first, officially dubbed the RAV4 EV, was primarily offered to fleet and commercial buyers in limited numbers from 1997 to 2003.

We'll have more information later this week when Toyota officially pulls the wraps off the all-electric RAV4.

What it means to you: The all-electric RAV4 will provide a new environmentally friendly option to "green" car shoppers looking for the cargo space and ground clearance of an SUV.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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