Toyota has produced an electric RAV4 – the Tesla-Toyota RAV4 EV – in collaboration with Tesla. 35 test cars will run in 2011 before production starts in the US in 2012.
A couple of weeks ago we ran a story on the Tesla Toyota RAV4 EV, an electric Toyota RAV4 endowed with electric car gubbins by Tesla. That’s the same Tesla in whom Toyota recently acquired a stake and provided with a factory with a capacity at least twenty times that which Tesla will ever need.
We speculated when the tease came in for the electric RAV4 that maybe Toyota had plans to get Tesla to run out electric versions of all its cars at the new Tesla plant to take up the enormous slack in production numbers. But if that’s the plan, it will be a while. It seems there are currently plans to produce just 35 Toyota RAV4 EVs in 2011.
Tesla built and supplied the batteries – rated in the mid-30kwh range - as well as other related parts to Toyota engineering specifications. Toyota dumped a chunk of weight from the existing RAV4 to keep the electric RAV4 as close to the weight of an ICE equipped car as possible. In the end the electric RAV4 has come in around 100kg more than the regular V6 version
The electric RAV4 also gets a bit of a facelift with a new nose – bumper, fogs, headlights and grill – and a new multimedia dash with powertrain meters on the dash and a push-button shifter.
Interestingly, this Toyota RAV4 isn’t the first electric RAV4 to be churned out by Toyota. When California decided to push for a zero emissions policy for cars in the late ’90s, Toyota produced an electric RAV4 with a nickel-metal hydride battery pack and a range of around 100 miles.
Which despite all the money spent on EV research in the last fifteen years is about the same range as this new Toyota RAV4 has. But then to have an electric RAV4 with the same range as an ICE RAV4 you’d need a battery pack that was bigger – and weighed more – than the whole RAV4.
Why not wait until battery technology can cope with powering a car for the real world before churning out electric cars and proclaiming them as the future? As a replacement for a proper family car they’re useless.As urban runarounds they’re perfect.
Settle for that.
Tesla-Toyota RAV4 EV Video