Toyota Introduces the RAV4 EV (With Tesla DNA Under the Hood)

Toyota RAV4 EV© Toyota

Come On Toyota, Why Don't You Make More?

Toyota just unveiled the RAV4 EV at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. I'm totally torn on it; on one side, it seems pretty good technically. The battery and power-train were designed and produced by Tesla Motors and they have plenty of oomph (0-60 mph in 7.0 secs in sport mode, and a maximum speed of 100 mph) and range (100 miles), at least enough to be meet the needs of a significant cross-section of society (ie. soccer moms who don't drive more than 100 miles in a day and want a small SUV for kids & all the stuff that comes with them).

At 0.30 Cd, the RAV4 EV achieves the lowest coefficient of drag of any SUV in the world. This is something that more automakers should work on, even for non EVs.

Toyota RAV4 EV© Toyota

But Here's the Problem

So that was the good. Here's the bad: Toyota is only planning to make 2,600 units over the next three years (Nissan will probably make more EVs than that in a week when they reach full production), and probably because of the low volumes, the MSRP is $49,800, which is probably too expensive - though it gets better after incentives - for many people. It's almost as much as the much nicer upcoming Tesla Model S and Model X (though Tesla usually quotes the price of those after incentives, so they'll still be more expensive).

So since Toyota is going to all the trouble to create this EV yet won't produce more than a couple thousand, it seems to truly be a 'compliance EV' that was made only to appease regulators in California. That's really too bad...

Toyota RAV4 EV© Toyota

Toyota RAV4 EV© Toyota

Toyota RAV4 EV© Toyota

Pricing and Availability of Toyota's RAV4 Electric

As mentioned above, the MSRP is $49,800. Toyota writes that "the vehicle will be available later this year in three exterior colors: Blizzard White Pearl, Shoreline Blue Pearl and Classic Silver Metallic. The interior features a unique 'Neutron' fabric, woven with a subtle sheen and blue accent, on the seat inserts and door trim. "

It will be available first in Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles/Orange County and San Diego.

Via Toyota

See also: 2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid to Be Made in U.S.

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