How To Buy A New Tesla For Half Price Without Having To Wait Forever

If you wanted a Tesla Model S but couldn't afford the sticker price (or bear the long wait), now's your chance. Well, sort of. Tesla shared its guts with Toyota, who stuffed them into a RAV4, and now the car's going on sale.

A RAV4 isn't nearly as sexy as a real Tesla, but this Frankenstein has the electric goddess' heart and soul.

The Street's Anton Wahlman explains it best:

Two years ago, Toyota(TM_) had invested in Tesla, and the companies agreed to jointly develop a Toyota-branded all-electric car with Tesla's signature battery and electric motor, among other components.

For the body, they chose the small SUV called the Toyota RAV4, which is everywhere on U.S. roads. The fruition of this conversion will be hitting the dealerships a month from now, and the price is $50,000 before tax adjustments, so $40,000 after, in California.

Speaking of California: The only place it will be sold is in that state's four major cities. That's the biggest caveat. The second caveat: Toyota and Tesla are committing to build only 2,600 units, compared with Tesla's 12,200 for the Model S.

But there are other caveats as well. the Tesla-gutted RAV4 will have a 41.8 kWh battery capacity, compared with 60 to 85 kWh in the Tesla Model S. That means the range is about 100 miles in the Toyota and more than 250 in the Tesla. The Toyota will also be, well, a Toyota, which means buyers won't get nice tires and leather seats and all that jazz.

But if you don't mind being surrounded by cheap plastic and being seen driving around in a RAV4, this could be a great way to get in on a Tesla. (Hat tip to Less!)

Photo credit: Associated Press