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The New Toyota RAV4 EV electric SUV Is Here, The Verdict Is Out

Toyota has held its promise of giving us the much anticipated all-electric RAV4 EV SUV. Sneak previews shows so far, so good.

If you recall, the turbulent wake up call for electric cars was GM’s EV1 and Toyota’s RAV4 EV. “Who Killed The Electric Car?” was made famous by GM and Toyota’s insistence to not sell the cars but lease them, despite desperate pleas from customers, they were sent to the crusher.

Original Toyota RAV4 EV. If you know someone with an original Toyota RAV4 EV, ask them about. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they will have nothing but raving eulogies about it. These electric SUVs are now over a decade old and well above 115,000 miles. Their worn out nickel metal hydrate batteries are making many face the dilemma of the lithium upgrade route, which will give them greater range and longer life, or simply buy a new currently available electric car.

The New Toyota RAV4 EV. With the new Toyota RAV4 EV coming into the market, original RAV4 EV owners now have a better choice. Toyota being the pragmatic and cautious company it is, see our Electric Scion iQ Sighting Shows Toyota Working On Electric Car
will make the more modern, redesigned, highly aerodynamic version of their RAV4 available in certain “selected” California dealerships later this summer. During its most media event, the company unveiled the final RAV4 EV production version.

Technically Speaking. This modernized version of the RAV4 EV gives you a better performance, comfort and versatility than the original. It is expected to give you an average EPA-estimated 100 miles driving range. Depending on your charging capacity, it should take about 6 hours via a 240V/40A charger, count roughly over twice as much on a 110V.

The front wheel drive RAV4 EV has two drive modes, Sport and Normal. In Sport mode, as you would expect, the electric SUV reaches a respectable 0 to 60 in 7.0 seconds with a maximum speed of 100 mph. But in Normal mode it saves battery range by lowering the 0 to 60 to 8.6 seconds and its top speed to 85 mph. Maximum output from the electric powertrain developed by Tesla Motors is rated at 154hp, 115kW. The Toyota RAV4 EV has a particularly well designed aerodynamic low coefficient drag of about 0.30 Cd, which is low for an SUV.

Range Extended. The Toyota RAV4 EV comes with a two charge mode - Standard and Extended. In standard mode, the battery pack takes in as much as 35 kWh giving it an estimated range of 92 miles. But in Extended Mode battery pack charges to full capacity of 41.8 kWh, giving it an enthusiastic driving range of 113 miles. Of course, the Standard mode optimizes battery life. In order to further optimize range and longevity, you will be able to choose from 3 control settings, NORMAL, ECO LO and ECO HI. According to the company, ECO LO mode gives you the best balance of cabin comfort and improved range through reduced power consumption. ECO HI will give you 40% power reduction compared to NORMAL.

Kudos Toyota on delivering what people expect from you, quality vehicles that with energy savings. Since we want frugality but won’t go without our creature comforts, the Toyota RAV4 EV seems to strike the perfect balance. Toyota has done a great job with its RAV4 EV, which should once again prove that electric cars are great alternatives, even at $50,000.


Nicolas Zart    August 6, 2012 - 2:26AM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Someone just wrote me G+ the same thing about it being a low volume. Yes, it's will most likely be low volume. Whenever you see the word "selected", that means a tiny number :)

On the positive side, at least Toyota waited to come out with an electric SUV that has a few good points. They didn't just do an electric SUV and left it that. They're really testing the waters here.

The real point is that it's a testing ground for Tesla's Model X. Since they delivered the powertrain, it will be interesting to see if and how theyr Model X will differ.