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Teasing impressions of the 2012 Toyota RAV EV via video

The long awaited 2012 Toyota RAV EV, the brainchild of Toyota’s partnership with Tesla, is nearing its final release and the brand is trying to build excitement with YouTube videos singing its praises.
Posted: September 12, 2012 - 5:31PM
Author: Don Bain


In the Western states, few things are as exciting to a forward looking auto enthusiast as the prospect of an electric SUV – provided it can do the things the vehicle it replaces can do without leaving you stranded well above treeline.

“This vehicle was a conversion of one we’ve had in the market for quite a long time so it was important that beyond just the exterior refreshment, we bring the technology on the interior of the vehicle up to date,” states Sheldon Brown, Executive Program Manager, at the beginning of the video.

The video addresses a few of interested buyers initial concerns and perhaps does manage to generate a little excitement, but the real question is whether the buyers of the 2012 RAV EV can get what they want out of the car with its 100-mile range.

Obviously that would get most of us through our daily commute to and from work, shopping and probably even running the kids to their numerous appointments and activities.

Nevertheless, if a young professional or couple purchases the RAV EV, won't they want to also use it for leisure outings to hike, ski, board or mountain bike and whether it get you to and from the trailhead without recharging becomes the question.

The video does address how if you drive uphill one way and then downhill the other you will be recharging on your way down, but driving through mountain passes tends to have its up and downs so it is unclear how well these vehicles will work in the West or even the Appalachians, for that matter.

It does talk about how the vehicle’s three high-resolution displays light up as soon as you open the door, displaying temperature and range immediately. This is all tied to a smartphone app so you know if you need to charge before leaving, which is handy if you are still at home on near a charging station.

The video points out how the display screen works like a smartphone or tablet with finger gestures allowing scrolling, enlarging, shrinking and so on – certainly a nice feature.

“Driving the vehicle is much different than I’ve experienced in any gasoline driven vehicle,” said Daniel Smith of Vehicle Performance Development for Human Factor and Ergonomics. “The instant torque stepping on the accelerator and the input you put into the accelerator is what you get out of the vehicle. It’s a great experience, something I think car enthusiasts will enjoy.”

As Firesign Theater would put it, “You’ve been talking enough, hand it over!”

Like you, we can’t wait to see if the 2012 RAV EV is everything it’s supposed to be and how close it is to what we’d like it to be, as well.

If it handles curves the way it appears to in the still from the video above, we’ll be overjoyed!