New Poll Shows RAV4 Hybrid Owners Would Not Switch to PHEV or EV
You may think that EVs are the unforeseeable future of the automotive industry, however, would you be surprised to know that a lot of hybrid owners do not want to switch over to an EV or even a PHEV? I recently posted a poll on Facebook’s Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Group and asked if RAV4 Hybrid owners would switch over to the RAV Prime or go full EV with the bZ4X. The 2 main options were either, no or yes upgrade to prime or bZ4X.
Later, there were two other options: “not sure” and “when prices become affordable.” Out of 106 votes, 61 said they would not switch, 41 said they would, 3 said they were not sure, and only 1 person said they would if the prices became more affordable. I primarily want to focus on the two main options since this was an objective yes or no question. Now this year alone, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is one of the most successful hybrid SUVs so far. With its phenomenal gas mileage and comfortable amenities, the RAV4 Hybrid is on track to be a beloved SUV by all people rather than just families.
In recent articles, we have covered the cons of the bZ4X and the insane waiting times for the RAV Prime in the Northern US and Canada. Could these be reasons why RAV4 Hybrid owners would not want to switch over to Prime or bZ4X? Turns out not really. Before we take a look at why the majority of RAV4 Hybrid owners would not switch, it’s important to remember that 40% is not a small number. While not being the majority, we will also look at why almost half the owners would switch. After reading the comments, the two main deciding factors come to two things: time and infrastructure.
Brandon Franklin said he would not switch over because, “an electric car wouldn’t work for me since I drive a lot for work and can’t spend time charging here and there, which why I opted in rav4 hybrid which works great for me, plus we don’t even have enough charging infrastructure here in North Carolina.” I live in northern South Carolina, and I can attest that we don’t really have a lot of charging even in a big city like Charlotte where I frequently drive through. In the downtown area, you will find charging stations in private parking areas but rarely in public spaces.
Unlike cities like LA or NYC, we don’t have big charging farms dedicated to catering to the changing needs of EVs. Now Franklin’s reasoning is indeed a very valid stance but for the typical family who maybe drives the average commute to work and wants to save a little on gas, the RAV4 Prime would be optimal because even if the electric range runs out, your ICE will power the alternator charging your batteries.
One reason why some people wouldn’t switch to Prime is the price as well. MSRP for a 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime is $39,800. However, you will not find a used one for less than 50. Why? Ask about the current economical state. Everything has gone up so these “affordable” SUVs are becoming the next supercar flip. Remember how the shoe game was supposedly dead? I think the car game would soon replace that. If you can take an everyday SUV and flip it for 10 grand more and know that you will sell it, you have a very successful product for flipping a low-end, PHEV SUV. That’s if however, you can find a dealer willing to sell it to you for MSRP.
Also, you are paying a premium price for a car that’s only different on the drivetrain. Nick Mosley commented saying, “Prime is too expensive. Yeah, it's fast and with plug-in EV saves on gas but it's still a RAV4 with an interior not much different than a loaded hybrid.” It’s true, while the RAV4 Prime does get better gas mileage, you are paying almost 10k more for a car that looks no different on the inside.
All in all, it’s really a split decision. 100 participants don’t represent the thousands of owners there are. If money and time were not an issue and the sole purpose of my purchase was better gas mileage, I would buy a Prime. But if I am like every other buyer in the U.S right now, on a budget, I would buy the Hybrid because it’s not much different and still delivers a great performance with your gas.
What do you think? Would you switch over to a PHEV or full EV from your Hybrid? Let us know in the comments below.
Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun for daily Toyota news.