Finally, the production version of the much anticipated 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV has been unveiled by Toyota at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. This latest Toyota RAV4 EV is an all-electric version of Toyota’s well-liked RAV4 SUV. It is packed with an electric drive train rather than a gasoline powered drive train. The drive-train of this all-electric Toyota crossover has been designed and provided by American carmaker – Tesla Motors. 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is a first production electric vehicle emerged from technology partnership of Toyota with startup electric carmaker Tesla Motors.
Toyota not only revealed the production version vehicle at EVS26 event, but this Japanese automaker also surprised people at the event by revealing its production plans. Toyota has planned to build and trade around 2,600 RAV4 EVs in next 3 years and to launch it in only 4 California regions. The car is designed in a way that it meets the California Zero-Emission Vehicle rules. 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV combines the versatility of a small SUV with the efficiency of an EV; indeed it is the only all-electric SUV in the market. Toyota’s group VP and general manager, Bob Carter, predicted that this latest all-electric vehicle will surely attract the sophisticated early technology lovers.
2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is pretty much similar to the ordinary RAV4, but with an electric drive-train. All the electric bits of RAV4 EV have been provided by Tesla, including the lithium-ion battery pack, power electronics and the electric motor. The electric motor powers the front wheels through a single-speed transmission with a rated max torque of 273 lb-ft and peak power of 154 hp (115 kilowatts) available at 2800rpm.
According to Toyota, the handling and performance of the electric RAV4 goes with the most powerful gasoline RAV4 that is packed with a V-6 engine. The drive-train is featured with 2 different drive modes: Normal and Sport. In Normal mode, it takes 8.6 seconds to pick up the pace from 0 to 60 mph with a top speed of 85 mph. While in Sport mode, RAV4 EV takes just 7.0 seconds to pick up the pace from 0 to 60 mph and the top speed rises to 100 mph. When the Sport mode has been selected by the driver, the blue dash display turns into red.
It is packed with a 42-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that comes with a warranty of 8 years or 160,000km (100,000 miles). Toyota has mounted the battery pack centrally and low in the floorpan to offer a lower centre of gravity and to enhance the handling. There are two chargers provided to charge the battery: a standard onboard 120-volt charger and an optional 240-volt charger. The 240V/40A household charger is claimed to take around 6 hours to fully charge the battery pack. The company didn’t provide the estimated charge time for the 120-volt charger yet, but it is assumed to take a lot longer. Toyota claims that the RAV4 EV can meet up 100 miles of driving range with a fully charged battery.
There are many modifications made on the RAV4 base vehicle to make the electric model unique. Toyota claims that the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is a most aerodynamic SUV on the globe, providing an exceptionally smooth and quiet ride by means of a drag coefficient of 0.30 that is the lowest of any SUV. Compared to gasoline models, the new electric version features a customized grille, front bumper, rear spoiler, side mirrors LED low beam headlights, LED brake lights and underbody shields. The company also made changes to smooth airflow under the vehicle. Besides the smoothed-over bits, the vehicle also sports blue-colored badges at front & rear and LED daytime running lights.
2012 Toyota RAV4 EV will be available in 3 colors: Classic Silver Metallic, Shoreline Blue Pearl, and Blizzard Pearl White.
The interior of RAV4 EV is almost identical to that of the gasoline-powered RAV4. The RAV4 EV sports 73-cubic-foot cargo capacity, which is identical to its conventional siblings, that is because none of the EV-specific parts (battery, motor) interrupt interior space. There is a central 8” capacitive touchscreen display, which shows EV operating data with battery and electric-drive information as well as it includes controls for telematics, infotainment and navigation functions. Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity are also supported. The driver’s seat is a six-way adjustable and both front seats are integrated with heaters. Door trim and seat inserts are composed of a new unique blue-tinted “Neutron” fabric.
Pricing and Availability
Similar to the other electric vehicles, the RAV4 EV also bears a hefty price tag in comparison to equally sized gas-powered variants like the normal RAV4. Initially, the RAV4 EV will hit 4 California regional markets – San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles/Orange County – in late this summer with a price tag of $49,800.
Video of Toyota Rav4 EV 2012 from Youtube: