Toyota RAV4 EV Priced at $49,800, Available in California This Summer
May 7, 2012 7:06 PM
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EV is more than twice the base price of a conventional RAV4, has 100-mile range
Toyota and Tesla have been talking about production plans for an
electric version of the popular RAV4 crossover utility vehicle
for nearly two years.
Back in July 2010
, Toyota and Tesla said that a production version of the EV would hit American streets in 2012.
True to their word, the pair officially unveiled the RAV4 EV at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles, California. For those that were looking for the EV to be based on an all-new RAV4 platform, you'll be disappointed. The vehicle still appears to be largely based on the third-generation RAV4 that was introduced way back in 2005 and is long overdue for a redesign.
Stylistically, the RAV4 EV shares much with its gasoline counterpart in the way of exterior body panels. Key differences can be found up front with a redesigned bumper/grille and headlights (LED + halogen) along with clear taillight coverings out back. The center stack on the dashboard has been redesigned to incorporate automatic climate control and a large touch screen, but is otherwise familiar to current RAV4 owners.
The big changes, however, are beneath the bodywork. In place of a 4- or 6-cylinder gasoline engine is a Tesla-designed 154hp (115kW) electric motor that drives the front wheels. In normal mode, the RAV4 EV can hit 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. Switching to Sport mode cuts that time down to 7 seconds. Top speed is listed at a just 80 mph, which means that you won't be hogging the left lane on most interstates in the U.S. The maximum driving range is listed at 100 miles.
Toyota has partnered with Leviton to provide charging solutions for the RAV4 EV. Toyota says that the lithium-ion battery pack can be recharged in six hours with a Leviton 240V (Level 2), 40A, 9.6kW charging station. The vehicle also includes a 120V (Level 1) emergency charging cable when the driver doesn't have access to a Level 2 charger -- just expect to wait around a lot longer while the battery recharges.
For those keeping score, the battery warranty for the RAV4 EV is 8 years or 100,000 miles.
Toyota says that the RAV4 EV will go on sale this summer in select markets (Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles/Orange County and San Diego). There are no further details on if and when the vehicle will enter wider availability in the U.S.
For those that do choose a RAV4 EV, the price of entry will be a lofty $49,800 (since Toyota didn't make specific mention of it, we're assuming that this price is before the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs and before any applicable state credits/rebates). For comparison, a base RAV4 (gasoline engine) with front-wheel drive rings in at a "modest" $22,650.
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RE: For that price increase...
5/10/2012 2:48:56 AM
Well, I have a plan to try to eventually make green technology mainstream, but the most important first step is to get the early adopters on board.
I think we are all in agreement that green technology is currently very expensive relatively, and still inaccessible to the masses. While I hope that with enough R&D, we may eventually reach that mass market appeal to maybe 5-10% of the US market within 10 years.
I think the only real problems with EV technology are the following:
- They have not yet reached mass market prices without significant government subsidies with the latter part being the primary hatred on this board towards green technology in general. I would argue that green technology is spending towards national defense but that's another topic....
Still there is many within the EV industry with a plan to reduce this cost over the next decade (cheaper batteries primary).
2. Consumer Acceptance
- The everyday Joe who normally goes into a dealer simply don't understand EV's or cars like the Volt as a result, they tend to buy things they already know and trust.
Most dealers don't understand how to sell the cars either, as a result using them simply has Halo cars to steer them elsewhere. But the dealers who KNOW how to sell them are certainly able to. One dealer in Michigan is able to sell 25 Volt's/Month....half of whom did not come in planning to buy one in the first place. That's the kicker. To give perspective of how many that is , there are about 4500 Chevy dealers in the US, if just each of them sold 3 per month, you would have a car that outsells both the Mustang and Camaro combined.
Educating the masses will take time as most only read headlines (EV catches on fires OMG!)...and word of mouth so as more and more people own them. Unfortunately due to the high entry cost, this will take a while for the grass roots movement grow, but the numbers are steadily growing. There are currently about 30-40,000 EV owners in the US most of whom love the technology and bring word of mouth recommendations.
3. Unknown Reliability -
- While hybrid's are finally accepted, full EV's with lithium batteries are a relative unknown. Consumers are afraid of new technology, so it will take a few years for the technology to be proven before the masses will flock to it. This is where the early adopters (my part) come in to prove that the technology is viable now. We will all find out in a few years whether or not the technology is successful.
Although there already are a number of Toyota RAV4 EVs built over 12 years ago with NiMH batteries are still running strong to this day some numbering over 200,000 miles). I unfortunately do not have the same faith in the Leaf air cooled battery systems. I do however have greater faith in the reliability of the water cooled systems in the Tesla/GM/Ford systems. I think Fisker is just a crapshoot with poor quality control, who got way over their heads while chasing government money - the majority of the green tech firms IMO which resulted in the bubble.
Just my current opinion.
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