Toyota RAV4 All-Electric Crossover (2014 Model Review)

Written By: EightySix

The Electric RAV4 has Come and Gone... Again

                                         2014 Toyota RAV4 All-Electric - Discontinued

In September, 2012, Toyota did a very unscary thing: released an electric vehicle we were familiar with. Underneath the well-known skin of the RAV4 is a 115kW Tesla motor with a 41.8 kWH lithium-ion battery. It has a range of 103 miles, reaches sixty miles per hour in seven seconds and tops out at a governed 100 miles per hour. With 154 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, it remains as sporty as its gas-powered cousin.

Like the gas version, the EV is protected by the STAR suite of safety features including Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution and Smart Stop Technology.

Due to the location of the battery under the floor-pan, it has slightly less ground clearance than the gas version, but the center of gravity is reduced for more stable cornering. Both versions have 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Except for the lack of a tailpipe and its 76 MPGe, the EV looks just like its cousin. The vehicle is available only in select California markets. It sells for $49,800 but is eligible for $10,000 in state and national rebates.

The First Generation

Toyota built a previous generation of the RAV4 EV, making it available for lease to businesses, cities and utilities from 1997 to 2003. 1484 first generations were produced. By the middle of 2012, nearly 500 were still on the road. Some have over 150,000 miles on the original battery pack.

The first generation was an all-Toyota product. It had a range of 95 miles, went zero-to-sixty in eighteen seconds and could reach a governed 78 miles per hour. A charge timer was built in the dashboard to allow owners to charge at a specific time. Off-peak electricity rates are typically much lower, so RAV4 EV owners could save more money by charging at night.

The Third Generation?

After 2600 units, production has stopped. The deal between Tesla and Toyota has expired. Toyota only planned two years of the RAV4 EV to satisfy California's Zero Emissions mandate. By the middle of 2014, fewer than 2000 vehicles had been sold. Toyota has enjoyed considerably more success selling hybrid cars.

Tesla and Toyota claim to still have a strong relationship and are open to more joint ventures in the future. But perhaps Tesla does not want to compete with itself. Tesla will launch its Model X SUV early in 2015. Toyota may be stepping away from the all-electric experiment. It released its hydrogen fuel-cell powered Mirai sedan in Japan mid-December. 700 will be built in 2015 for global sale.