• Sep 24th 2008 at 6:01AM
  • 11
If you want to find out how absolutely awesome the RAV4-EV, Toyota's all-electric vehicle that was avaible in the late 1990s and early 2000s, is, all you have to do to is talk to someone who still drives one today. We've heard from a lot of people who swear by these aging rides, and wouldn't trade them for anything, today or tomorrow.

It seems that Toyota has realized it had something good back in the day, and wants to see what these aging EVs can teach us today. The company announced this morning that is will be bringing four off-lease RAV4-EVs to Portland, Oregon - where it is currently holding a Sustainable Mobility Seminar - to "assist in the development of clustered electric-charging infrastructure for the arrival of future zero- and low-emission vehicles." What that means is that the BEVs will serve as shuttles between local mass-transit terminals and downtown/suburban locations using a centralized car charging system similar to Toyota's e-com system that went online in 1999. The RAV4-EVs, all fully refurbished 2002 and 2003 models, will be part of the University of California, Irvine's ZEV-NET (Zero Emission Vehicle-Network Enabled Transport) program. Portland State University is also a part of the tests. More details available after the break.

[Source: Toyota]



Station Car Program Designed to Assist Portland and Oregon Develop Plug-in Infrastructure for Future Zero- and Low-Emission Vehicles

PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 24, 2008 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced today at its Sustainable Mobility Seminar media reception that it will place four off-lease RAV4-EV battery-electric vehicles (BEV) in a new program in Portland, Oregon designed to assist in the development of clustered electric-charging infrastructure for the arrival of future zero- and low-emission vehicles.

The vehicles will be used as station cars for shuttling people from mass-transit terminals to downtown and suburban locations. The program is being developed by Portland State University (PSU), in association with the University of California, Irvine's (UCI) ZEV-NET (Zero Emission Vehicle-Network Enabled Transport) program. In late July, Portland General Electric (PGE) went on-line with its first free-standing public electric-recharging station, marking the event by recharging a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid. On September 22, PGE announced the installation of five additional plug-in charging stations – enough to charge 12 vehicles – in the Portland and Salem area, with more on the way.

"We are excited about the opportunity to participate in the ZEV-NET program and to team with Toyota and U.C. Irvine," said George Beard with PSU's Mark O. Hatfield School of Government. "It is obvious that the next
several years will bring us a range and growing number of low-emission and no-emission vehicle options, particularly electric and hybrid vehicles. Our region's position in renewable energy and its leadership reputation in urban sustainability make this partnership a natural for all involved," said Beard.

The Portland initiative will be patterned after the highly successful UCI ZEV-NET shared-use, station-car program in Southern California. "ZEV-NET, in association with Toyota, started in 1999 with the deployment of prototype Toyota e-com city electric vehicles, and is today the nation's longest-running station car program," said Dr. Scott Samuelsen, Director of UCI's National Fuel Cell Research Center and Advanced Power and Energy Program. "ZEV-NET provides a unique research platform to explore both a major sustainable mobility alternative with a smart high-tech management system, and the role of distributed generation as the fueling backbone."

Last month Toyota Motor Corporation President Katsuaki Watanabe announced that Toyota plans to launch an all-new BEV commuter car in the early 2010s. Watanabe also announced that Toyota will begin a limited-volume placement program for a new lithium-battery powered PHV that will be leased to fleet customers in late 2009., in Japan, Europe and North America.

"Both vehicles will require the development of electric charging stations to meet customer expectations for practicality," said Bill Reinert, national manager, Advanced Technology Group. "By clustering infrastructure in urban environments, BEV and PHV owners will not be tethered to their home-charging systems, thus extending their electric range capabilities."

"I'm pleased that Toyota has selected Oregon to launch this new initiative in partnership with Portland State University," said Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. "It is partnerships like this one that help advance my vision and efforts to make Oregon a national leader in bringing this next generation of
vehicles to market. I look forward to building on this collaboration as we work to expand access to alternative fuelled vehicles across the state."

The vehicles being placed in the program are 2002 and 2003 model-year off-lease vehicles that have been fully refurbished. From 1998 to 2003, 1,485 RAV4-EVs were leased or sold to fleet customers and private individuals in California as part of the state's Zero-Emission Mandate program. The vehicles are powered by nickel-metal hydride batteries rated at 288 volts with a range of about 80 miles between charges.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is one very good reason I would buy a Toyota EV over the GM Volt - More integrity. GM buyers may get tax credits, even rebates, but Toyota in my book has real world cache and experience with EV's that were not crushed, they respected the leasees and did take back vehicles over legitimate purchase offers. Cars and a car company this good doesn't need to be propped up. I'd feel like I was buying something more solid than GM's built for maximum size/profit over long term maximum quality. I'd be willing to honestly consider buying a reconditioned RAV-ev at today's prices because Toyota built them. BEV's like the Rav-ev or even the Solectria Sunrise are the best that have been developed in the general driving category.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "BEV's like the Rav-ev or even the Solectria Sunrise are the best that have been developed in the general driving category."

        I would put GMs EV-1 (may it rest in pieces) in the best electric car driving category. Why?

        It was designed to be electric from the frame on up. It had a CD of .19.

        The stats are great for generation 2 EV1 with NiMH, the range would be fantastic today if Lithium replaced the NiMH. Here are the Department of Energy test results for the EV1. Please note the EV1 with NiMH batteries could travel 160 miles at a constant speed of 60 mph, 220.7 miles at 45 mph and 140 miles doing a driving cycle. http://avt.inel.gov/pdf/fsev/eva/ev1_eva.pdf .
        Here the EV1 spins (chirps) its tires. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGhLhvW9b14
        Kris Trexler test drives the Gen 2 EV1 with NiMH batteries

        There are more articles on the Internet that indicate that the EV1 was a very advanced electric car that would be great to have today, too bad GM sold the NiMH tech to Texaco-Chevron which prohibits the manufacture of large format NiMH batteries like those used in the EV1. So sad GM crushed or gutted their cars so we can't put in Lithium batteries and see the range jump to over 200 miles per charge. If most people only drive 40 miles per day, the EV1 would many times over satisfy that range requirement.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That is just crazy. Bring the damn things back. We all want them. And just announced today, the battery prices have come down, there's just no reason not to make them. They are proven vehicles with long and stable duration. They sell for the same or more than then originally priced. How is it a bad idea?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The car that runs on Batteries That Are Not Ready...
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's right, those batteries are *so* not ready that people depend on them every day to get them around, so not ready that a fair number of RAV4-EVs have gone over 100,000 miles without needing to be replaced... truth to be told it's the oil companies that aren't ready to deal wit the batteries.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I love living in Portland...

      Working with the people who are making our charging stations, these seminars, local EV companies..... its like the silicon Valley of EV's.... hell, we've got THE highest per capita rate of hybrid vehicles in the country.

      Bring back the Rav4EV...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Perhaps Toyota will RE-discover the FACT that EVs (range-extended or not) have their place in the market and that they had better join the market with GM, Crysler and others or they will lose the green cred. they worked so hard for.

      One will only keep their lead as long as they keep running and now is NOT the time to stop and enjoy past success with the dated Prius!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Another giveaway program.

      They were sold to a very lucky few at a cost that came nowhere near even the variable cost of production.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Right, Toyota, the company *SO* crazy that it sold the first Prius for "less than it could build it for." Crazy like a fox.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've got a RAV4 EV... had it for 8 years, 75K miles, drive it every day, and I love it. Nobody can tell me that these cars and other, well-designed and well-engineered EVs aren't ready for prime time!

      BTW, as long as you don't mind a little anxiety, the range is about 100 miles, taking it right down to the doorknobs.

      I've never run completely out of juice.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ben, I drive a RAV4 EV. It's awesome. However, it has flaws that GM overcame. For example, the SCR that controls the motor pulses and shudders the car at low speed. GM used software for their SCR to prevent this. Also, if you turn the key on the RAV4 EV with the paddle in, it will fail to "start", but will rollaway and damage the paddle charger. GM EVs, the EV1 and the S-10 E, had an interlock and warning light to let you know you forgot to pull out the paddle. GM has (had) more expertise in the EV space than Toyota does. Also, Toyota is just as guilty at crushing EVs as GM. Go ahead, ask Toyota why with 1500 EVs built, only 620 remain on the road. Only through protests at the headquarters and threatening to embarras Toyota publicly did they allow the 300 (of the 620) leased cars to remain on the road. RAV4 EVs can be seen headed to the crusher in the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?", along with the EV1. Don't get me wrong, I believe Toyota's gasoline cars are superior to GM, but when it comes to EVs, GM had the advantage (which they squandered).

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