One of the new crossover models for 2013 model year, the Toyota RAV4 EV may change the dynamics of the compact SUV market. In addition to its zero-emission electric engine, the model features solid driving range combined with a roomy, nicely appointed interior. A RAV4 EV was leased by Toyota from 1997-2003 but has not been offered again until now.
The current lineup of RAV4 vehicles is in the midst of design changes, and the 2013 EV model will include a number of the modifications underway for the gas powered trims. The RAV4 EV will have a newer battery that can deliver up to 100 miles of use in Normal mode. Surprisingly, the model will have brisk acceleration with a 0-60 mph time of approximately seven seconds, and a top speed of nearly 100 mph when driven in Sport mode.
Toyota has focused on the drag coefficient of this model, which was unveiled May 7, 2012 at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. The model’s bumper and grille have been redesigned in such a way as to produce a very low 0.30 drag coefficient, tops in this class of passenger vehicle. The new lithium ion battery pack has been carefully modified to fit into the same volume as the existing fuel tank on the current model.
The cabin retains the same overall dimensions as the gasoline-fueled trims set for the 2013 model year. A full recharge of the battery will take approximately 6 hours. The battery itself is placed low in the power compartment, resulting in a very balanced vehicle with a noticeable improvement in handling as well as passenger comfort.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the RAV4 EV is that its drivetrain was developed by Tesla, giving the model unexpected oomph and maximum horsepower output of 154. The RAV4 EVs larger size allows space for a larger battery allowing for more drive time than other EV models such as the Nissan Leaf.
Plenty Of Interior Conveniences
There will be a total of 73 cubic feet of cargo area in the new 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV, the same as will be found in its combustion engine brethren. The RAV4 has unequaled cargo capacity in its class. On its dashboard, an 8-inch touch screen sits in the very center of the instrument cluster, and the steering wheel will be equipped with audio controls. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a new seat fabric, power windows with driver’s side auto-up/down, and a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat will be included on the base trim.
The display audio will include navigation, auxiliary jack, USB port, voice recognition, and a premium stereo system. Some of the details concerning upgrades to the sound system, satellite radio subscription and hands-free calling have not yet been announced by Toyota. The auto-dimming rearview mirror is expected to come equipped with an optional backup camera.
The RAV4 EV inherits many of the interior traits of 2012 RAV4 models but does have some differences. It uses a shifter borrowed from the Prius and a different center stack showing the amount of miles left before a charge is needed. This helps give the interior a more modern, updated look.
Concerning the Sticker Price
Toyota has announced a base sticker price of approximately $50,000 for the new 2013 RAV4 EV. This is $15,000 more than Nissan Leaf. While this is a hefty amount, the model does currently benefit from a $7,500 federal credit and if you live in California, an additional $2,500 credit. Toyota will also offer lease plans for the vehicle. In comparison, a gas powered RAV4 can run into the low $30Ks when fully loaded.
The RAV4 EV will be offered in three exterior colors: Blizzard Pearl, Classic Silver Metallic, and Shoreline Blue Pearl. There is no all-wheel drive option for the RAV4 EV.
On Sale Starting Fall 2012
The vehicle was originally conceived as a way to meet the strict California emission laws. The revamped RAV4 EV will initially be for sale in just a few of the California markets. Customers in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco will be the first to try out this new offering from Toyota.
The automaker plans to expand the market throughout the state and the rest of the country over the next two to three years. However, the model will not be widely produced. Toyota currently plans to only 2,600 units of the model with production scheduled to wrap up at the end of the 2014. Unless of course, customers clamor for more.
The RAV4 EV is beign assembled at Toyota’s Woodstock, Ontario plant. To research pricing and features of RAV4 models where you live, check out iSeeCars to learn more.