Toyota RAV4 EV revealed

by Ernie Hernandez on May 8, 2012

Toyota pushes the EV price envelope

$49,800

That is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the new Toyota RAV4 EV – more than a 50 percent premium over Toyota’s most expensive current offering in the RAV4 lineup – the RAV4 V6 Limited 4X4 with the optional navigation package. Thusly equipped, the gasoline version of the RAV4 comes to $32,820 including destination. Considering that one can purchase a base RAV4 for $22,650, we feel that Toyota is not as interested in selling electric vehicles (EVs) as they are in saying that they offer them. Also taking into mind their exceedingly modest sales target of 2,600 units in three years (which comes out to just over two units per day for those keeping track), we find it rather disingenuous of Toyota to even make this vehicle available. Then again, Toyota sold or leased only 1,484 RAV4 EVs between 1997 and 2003, so this could be seen as a dramatic percentage improvement over their prior effort.

Others are providing all of the specifications so we won’t get into all of them, but we do want to talk about some important numbers:

    41.8 – the battery pack size in kilowatt hours
    0.30 – the coefficient of drag for the RAV4 EV

If the LEAF’s 24 kilowatt hour battery pack weighs about 660 pounds, one could expect that a battery pack of almost twice the capacity would weigh almost twice as much. As Tesla is providing the RAV4 EV battery pack, one might reasonably expect it to feature active heating and cooling, which would add additional weight. The battery pack alone could account for roughly one third of the vehicles’ weight. Which might be one reason that the expected range is still only 100 miles – it is using up a fair amount of energy to carry around its own immensely heavy power supply.

The coefficient of drag is notable in that it is very low for a vehicle of this size. Toyota should apply these same measures to the gasoline version to improve its efficiency, although according to Wikipedia, the 2006 RAV4 came in at 0.31 – a very respectable number.

Based on Toyota’s entry into the nascent EV marketplace with this vehicle, we have to say that we feel that their heart isn’t truly in the game at this point. Certainly that is subject to change, but it will take a stronger effort than this to convince us.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sasparilla May 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

I think you’re right on target here – its a shame as the RAV is a platform Toyota could have done so much more with if they had wanted to (a big chunk of the population like small SUV’s and they naturally have more space for batteries).

The 100 mile range has been mentioned by Toyota in the context of a true 100 mile range (as in EPA type range) which would be a nice boost over the Focus Electric and Leaf range’s. It appears the same guy at Toyota who thought it was a good idea to put the charger port on the Plug-In Prius on the right rear of the vehicle (so you have to back into the garage every time and can’t see if its plugged in when entering the drivers side) is at work on the RAV4 EV putting the Level 2 charger port on the left rear of the vehicle (slightly better, at least the driver can see if its plugged in prior to entering the vehicle) – not in a convenient place for most charger installations.

Even with such a massive battery pack there isn’t a Level 3 charger port. The final product looks very nice IMHO, inside and out, its just unfortunate that Toyota isn’t really seriously trying for the EV market.

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