Toyota RAV4 EV Is California-Only, Costs $50,610
The limited-production electric RAV4 returns almost exactly as it had left nine years before.
Just last week, we thought Toyota would price the EV at just under $40,000, in line with the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric. But Toyota, instead of marketing to all 50 states, said it would sell just 2,600 models over three years, and only in California. It's almost exactly what Toyota did nine years ago, when the last of the roughly 1,500 RAV4 EVs were leased and sold in California to satisfy the state's zero-emission mandates. While a full equipment list hasn't been announced, Toyota says the price buys a fully-loaded "premium" car.
"Right now, we're looking at it as more of a market test," said Jana Hartline, Toyota's environmental spokeswoman, to Exhaust Notes. "It's really going to allow us to gauge customers."
Based on the current model -- not the all-new 2013 RAV4 that will debut later this year -- the RAV4 EV looks very similar to the 2011 prototype, but with a more slanted nose and redesigned mirrors that help make it the most aerodynamic SUV in the world, according to Toyota. Like the 2013 Avalon, the RAV4 EV also includes a sport mode that gets the SUV to 60 mph in seven seconds and a top speed of 85 mph. The redesigned center stack includes Toyota's new app-enabled Entune infotainment system. A Prius-style shifter and an LCD instrument panel round out the rest of the changes.
The RAV4 EV comes with a 41.8-kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery supplied by Tesla Motors, nearly double the capacities of the batteries in the Focus Electric and Leaf, yet Toyota claims the same 100-mile range as those two cars. Tesla plans to introduce a similar 40-kilowatt hour battery in the upcoming Model S, due this winter, and promises a 160-mile range at a constant 55 mph. Hartline said the estimate was conservative ("we'd rather underpromise") and that prototypes have been "at 100 or above." Several charging modes will also be available, Hartline said, one of which will extend the range by maxing the battery's capacity, just like in the current Tesla Roadster. Charging takes about five to six hours on a 240-volt Level 2 connection. Unlike other Japanese EVs, a fast-charge port will not be available.
In 2011, EV enthusiasts bought close to 10,000 Leafs and nearly 7,700 Chevrolet Volts in the U.S. Toyota said it may offer the RAV4 EV in other states, but with Lexus prices, low volumes, and no all-wheel-drive option, don't count on it.
There is all kinds of talk about the range of electric vehicles. I would really like to know if it will reach the claimed range while running every electrical system (i.e. air conditioning/defrost, heater, headlights, cruise control, radio, navigation, electric windows). Or does using any or all of those systems reduce the range?
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