Toyota yesterday revealed the all-new Toyota RAV4 electric vehicle at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles.

Toyota RAV4 electric vehicle

The RAV4 EV has an expected driving range rating of approximately 160km and charging time of approximately six hours on a 240V/40A charger. The RAV4 EV’s driving performance, dynamics and cargo capacity are equal to or exceed the petrol-powered RAV4 V6.

Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of Toyota in the United States, said the RAV4 EV does not compromise on performance, comfort or versatility.

“It’s all about blending the best of two worlds,” Mr Carter said.

“The all-new RAV4 EV marries the efficiency of an EV with the versatility of a small SUV – in fact, it is the only all-electric SUV on the market.”

Toyota RAV4 electric vehicle charging

The RAV4 EV is the product of a unique collaboration with Tesla Motors spurred by Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation. Twenty-two months after the project announcement, Toyota and Tesla engineers have succeeded in bringing the vehicle to market. The RAV4 EV combines a Tesla designed and produced battery and electric powertrain with Toyota’s popular SUV.

The front-wheel-drive RAV4 EV allows drivers to select from two distinctly different drive modes, Sport and Normal. In Sport mode, the vehicle reaches 60 mph (96.6 km/h) in just 7.0 seconds and has a maximum speed of 160 km/h. Normal mode achieves 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 8.6 seconds with a maximum speed of about 137 km/h. Maximum output from the electric powertrain is 115kW @ 2,800 rpm.

Toyota RAV4 electric vehicle Instruments

RAV4 EV offers an exceptionally smooth, quiet ride and comfortable handling due in part to its low coefficient of drag and low centre of gravity. At 0.30 Cd, RAV4 EV achieves the lowest coefficient of drag of any SUV in the world.

Compared with the petrol-powered RAV4, Toyota re-styled the front bumper, upper and lower grille, side mirrors, rear spoiler and under body design to provide optimum air flow around the vehicle. The RAV4 EV’s battery pack is mounted low and to the centre of the vehicle, contributing to a more sedan-like ride.

The vehicle will go on sale in the United States late in the northern hemisphere summer. There are no plans to bring the RAV4 EV to South Africa in its current guise.

We believe that the RAV4 EV will attract sophisticated early technology adopters, much like the first-generation Prius,” Mr Carter said.

Toyota RAV4 electric vehicle engine

“It’s designed for consumers who prioritize the environment and appreciate performance.”

In July 2010, Toyota Motor Corporation and Tesla Motors jointly announced an agreement to develop an all-electric version of the RAV4, with the intent to bring the vehicle to market in 2012. Tesla contributed its EV technology expertise, daring spirit, quick decision making and flexibility. Toyota contributed design, engineering, manufacturing and production expertise. In an industry where development cycles are typically five years, Toyota and Tesla brought a dynamic product to market in less than half that time.

Toyota/Tesla Development Milestones 

  • May 2010 – Toyota/Tesla announce collaboration to develop electric vehicles, parts, production systems and engineering support.
  • July 2010 – Toyota/Tesla announce development of RAV4 EV.
  • November 2010 – Toyota reveals RAV4 EV Phase Zero prototype at LA Auto Show.
  • February 2011 – Tesla begins delivery of 31 converted RAV4 EV Phase Zero demonstration programme vehicles.
  • April 2011 – Toyota provides first media drive opportunity of Phase Zero demonstration programme vehicle at 2011 Sustainable Mobility Seminar.
  • August 2011 – Toyota/Tesla announce RAV4 EV manufacturing location: Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc., Woodstock, Ontario.