Work on mass-produced, long-range electric vehicles will reportedly kick off early next year.

The defunct Tesla-powered RAV4 EV, which was available for close $50,000, turned out to be pretty much a failure with fewer than 2,000 units sold during the car’s short life cycle of only two years. It was discontinued in 2014, but now there are reports coming from Japan about Toyota’s plans to develop a new pure electric model, one that will have a much higher range than the RAV4 EV’s EPA-estimated 103 miles (166 kilometers) on a single charge.

According to Nikkei newspaper, the world’s biggest car manufacturer in 2015 is currently laying the groundwork for a family of electric cars expected to hit the streets by the end of the decade. It is believed Toyota will have an R&D team ready by the start of next year to work on zero-emissions models capable of travelling for more than 186 miles (300 kilometers) before having to recharge the battery pack. The first car is said to go on sale at home in Japan by 2020, with other markets such as California and China to follow shortly thereafter.

As you would imagine, Toyota is being quite secretive about its plans for future products, refusing to confirm or deny the report issued by Nikkei. The company does say it’s channeling some of its efforts on a wide variety of greener powertrains, including those catering electric cars, but without going into any exact details.

The rumored EVs will peacefully co-exist with Toyota’s array of eco-friendly models, such as the Prius and its Prime plug-in hybrid counterpart, as well as with the Mirai hydrogen car. At the same time, Toyota is putting to good use its hybrid knowhow not only as a way to boost efficiency, but also to increase power and performance. We’re talking about the much-awaited Supra revival reportedly set to receive a beefier version with an electrified BMW gasoline engine.

Source: Nikkei via Automotive News Europe

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