• Sep 14, 2010
Toyota RAV4 – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's been just two short months since we learned that Toyota and Tesla would be working together on an updated all-electric RAV4. Now, direct from Toyota's official Twitter feed comes this news nugget:
Toyota and Tesla will debut the RAV4-EV at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
Development has apparently already begun at at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, MI and we look forward to getting more details out in LA soon.

Toyota also Tweeted this:
The target sales # for Prius PHV is roughly 20K+ for North America and it will arrive in dealerships in May/June 2012 time frame
So, after being slow to embrace plug-in technology (in public, anyway), Toyota is starting to make a big push for plug-in hybrid vehicles. This doesn't mean that the company that leads the hybrid sales fight is giving up on traditional hybrids, as Toyota executive vice president Takeshi Uchiyamada told the Detroit Free Press his company will bring six new gasoline-electric hybrid models – three hybrid-only models like the Prius and three electrified versions of existing models – to market around the world by the end of 2012. For all that extra battery power – and a solid miles per gallon boost – we won't have to pay all that much more. Uchiyamada said the price premium for the plug-in Prius over the standard Prius will be between $3,000 and $5,000.

[Source: Toyota, Detroit Free Press, All Cars Electric]


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  • 37 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      As I understand, the batteries in the RAV4 are in a tray under the floor and Tesla has been developing a similar system for the Model S. It wouldn't be hard to imagine that this combo Tesla/Toyota combo came together very naturally.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The original RAV4-EV had the batteries under the floor, which helped to keep the center of gravity low. Don't yet know if they'll do the same for the new version, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Man, the RAV-4 EV development has been insanely quick if they're showing even a semi-finished product in LA. Makes you wonder if they haven't been developing one since before they teamed up with Tesla...
        • 4 Years Ago
        lol
        • 4 Years Ago
        Makes you wonder if they had already built a fully electric Rav4 in some alternate universe using ancient alien technology.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The RAV 4 EV has been in production since 1997. So its just another revision and a matter of packaging Tesla's battery technology into their vehicle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yep, they stopped the original RAV4-EV production when they made a major model change to the RAV-4, and the current model is basically 2 major changes later. Still, it will have some of the same advantages of the original RAV4-EV, including a sturdy chassis well suited to carry the battery weight, and a roomy comfortable interior. Of course, with improved LiIon batteries, the new version will be lighter, have better performance, and have greater range than the original, which relied on NiMH batteries.

        The downside is, as a conversion, it won't perform quite as well as an EV designed from the ground up as an EV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The original Rav4s have nothing in common with the current rav4 other than the name. 2 totally diferent platforms. My guess is Toyota has been working on a hybrid Rav4 so going the EV route did not require much more heavy lifting.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The original Rav4s have nothing incommon with the current rav4 other than the name. 2 totally diferent platforms. My guess is Toyota has been working on a hybrid Rav4 so going the EV route did not require much more heavy lifting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A "sedan/hatchy thing" would cut into Prius sales. Any marketing person who suggested that would taken out back and shot! LOL!
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's likely that Tesla is simply providing the battery and power control system for the pack. The rest is Toyota. But this does signal a strong interest by Toyota in what Tesla has accomplished so far. And considering that the Tesla Model S will compete with the higher end Camry - indicates Toyota's positioning for M&A at some future date.

      All good for Tesla which now has the massive manufacturing power and experience of Toyota as their partner. Nothing could be sweeter for green auto enthusiasts.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You know the Model S *starts* at $50,000 right? With a 300-mile pack it could cost $75,000 where as an almost-every-box-checked Camry Hybrid is $38,400.

        We don't know what options the Model S will have besides the bigger batteries but the Model S doesn't compete with the Camry, at least directly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Got a point there. The Tesla Model S would be competing against Toyota's Lexus line of luxury autos. The top of the Toyota branded sedan lines, the Avalon, isn't quite that expensive (or luxurious).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Two words: Highlander EV
        • 4 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk
        Not really, still needs the onboard charger, and the weight distribution will be horrible if you just plop in the battery in the back where the hydrogen tanks used to be (esp since you remove the fuel cell in the front and it is FWD). It is actually much closer to a hybrid than a EV (that's why it's called a "fuel cell HYBRID vehicle," the dual power sources and the large battery for regen makes it a hybrid). There's enough work required that it doesn't save you much over starting from a gasoline vehicle (like Tesla is doing).

        So far there's mostly only talk about shared platforms between BEVs and hydrogen vehicles (GM E-flex, Daimler's Blue-Zero concepts). The closest to reality is the F-Cell/E-Cell (thanks to the sandwich architecture of the A-class), but Tesla is working separately on the E-cell, so it is unclear how much they share. The most important aspects of the vehicles (charging for BEVs, hydrogen for the HFCVs) are completely different, so collaboration will be limited between the two technologies.
        • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        3rd generation "PROTOTYPE" does NOT count!

        That is the equivalent of trying to pass off something as "Software 3.0" when it is more like "Software 0.3 beta".

        ------------------

        I agree that these FCHVs ARE READY for production. The technology is all there. But they will NOT go into production until somebody builds a Hydrogen Fueling infrastructure first.

        Just remember, The Auto corporations sent a Letter of Understanding to the Oil/Energy companies stating that they will be ready by 2015 if they have an "Infrastructure of sufficient density" in place by then.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There are 3 reasons why Toyota chose the RAV4 as the basis for their newest EV.

        The RAV4 is the smallest and most fuel efficient of their SUVs, and that directly translates into better range.

        The sturdy chassis of the RAV4 is well suited to carry the heavy batteries, and there are good spaces underneath to put them in.

        But most of all, their original RAV4-EV has performed better than they expected, as most are still on the road, and there has been very little depreciation over the past decade. Toyota hopes this version will be even more successful.

        I have a friend that drives the current RAV-4, and it is a nice, quiet, roomy and reliable car, for a gasser.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks Jake, for taking my comment in the spirit in which it was intended.

        I don't see why some of the battery capacity couldn't be carried in the front compartment as well as the rear - your weight distribution point is quite valid.

        I don't see a BEV conversion as completely unworkable; I would think that putting in the electric motor drive train would be the most mechanically difficult part, and that the charger could be figured out pretty quickly since the HSD in the FCHV-adv is pretty much the same as in the Prius. All you're really doing is replacing one source of voltage (fuel cell) with another (battery).

        As for the F-Cell/E-cell, they are completely different cars. The E-Cell is based on the A-class, while the F-Cell is based on the bigger B-class.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The work that Toyota has put into the FCHV-adv means it's nearly production ready. They have the electric motors, and motor control systems already sorted out. It's why we hydrogen enthusiasts have been saying that FCVs and BEVs are complementary technologies:

        My point is that pretty much all you would have to do is remove the tanks and fuel cell, and throw in the batteries - right?

        • 4 Years Ago
        I think what he means is one that you can actually buy :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think I would rather have the new RAV-ev than a Tesla Roadster because I prefer utility and safety over flash and speed. I want an EV so that I can reduce my exposure to benzene/toxic chemicals and, through my consumer choices, "say" **** *** to Big Oil and OPEC.

      EVsuperhero wrote: "It seems all the large OEM's had a meeting and agreed to offer little or nothing beyond 100 mile range , 24 kwh pack. Yea, I know everyone will say it is the expense of the battery etc... They are not competing against each other but instead agreed to be the same in range. Someone forgot to tell Coda not to put a larger pack in their car. Coda you are suppose to use a pack that is no larger than 24 kwh like the others."

      I think you hit the nail on the head with that observation, EVsuperhero. I suspect there is a conspiracy to keep reliable electric scooters with swappable batteries (for range extension) off the streets in the U.S. Listen to Detroit Electric CEO Albert Lam say why auto manufacturers do not build
      electric cars which can get 320km per charge at 3:00 minutes in the following CNBC video:
      http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1173644231&play=1

      On a similar note, read Shai Agassi's comment:

      http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/better-place-targets-mainstream-drivers/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+greentechmedia-all-content+%28Greentech+Media%3A+All+Content%29

      ..What if a $5,000 Chinese-made electric car sold in the United States? "All hell will break loose," he said. Better Place struck a deal in April to collaborate on electric vehicles with Chinese auto maker Chery. Agassi says he anticipates Chery will sell a battery-swappable vehicle in the Better Place markets of Israel and Denmark, but not for several years."

      Hawaii Inventor Develops Electric Bike
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCAC9TK0yps&feature=player_embedded
      • 4 Years Ago
      By the way... $3k-$5k more for the plugin Prius? that's not a bad premium at all.
      Seems like it would be an inconvenience to continuously plug/unplug just for that 15 miles of range; kind of a tease really. But for a hell of a lot less $$$ than the Volt, i think it's worth it if you need good range on a primary car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Many like the driving position up high. My friends wife always liked the higher seated position so she always bought a SUV. This time she got a Mazda 3 to her credit. Rav4's higher seating will make it more appealing to Americans. It may not be efficient but if it gets more EV's out on the road, bring it.

        10 years ago the EV Rav4 had 120 -150 mile range. Strangely enough the knew one will most likely only be able to muster a 80 - 100 miles range. So it will not even be back to the future. It will be, close to back to the future.

        No one is putting a bigger pack in there OEM EV coming on sale in 2010 than Coda. 34 kwh pack with a 6.6 kw charger to boot. Coda to is ragging on the Leaf for having a air cooled battery. Coda says they will have about 40% more range than the Leaf.

        "While the Coda Sedan will probably cost
        several thousand dollars more than the
        LEAF when final pricing is announced,
        Czinger says that the range, the reliability
        of the range, and the thermal management
        system of the battery for the Coda Sedan
        are superior to the LEAF. The Coda Sedan
        can deliver between 90 to 100 miles range
        according to the US06 driving test, which
        has an average 48 miles-per-hour driving
        speed, says Czinger. In comparison, the
        LEAF is touting a 100 mile range based on
        the LA4 driving test, which Cziger says “is
        not a realistic test for the consumer.” Under
        the LA4 test, the Coda Sedan gets 120 to
        130 mile range, says Czinger: “So apples
        to apples, we probably have under most
        conditions 40 percent more range than a
        Nissan LEAF.”
        Czinger says the range of the Coda Sedan
        holds up to that 90 to 100 mile range despite
        extreme hot and cold weather because
        of its high-volume, air-cooled, battery
        thermal management
        system. In comparison,
        Czinger says the LEAF
        can get as low as a 40
        mile range in extreme
        hot and cold weather
        because of its lack of a
        sufficient active thermal
        management system
        for the battery pack.
        Czinger says:
        “I think our range is the
        minimum real usable
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not ABG fault about my post, it was the copy and paste method. Yes, the Coda body sucks. I would like to see the Rav4 with the Coda pack size. It seems all the large OEM's had a meeting and agreed to offer little or nothing beyond 100 mile range , 24 kwh pack. Yea, I know everyone will say it is the expense of the battery etc... They are not competing against each other but instead agreed to be the same in range. Someone forgot to tell Coda not to put a larger pack in their car. Coda you are suppose to use a pack that is no larger than 24 kwh like the others. In 2009 all automakers made 25% efficiency improvements to their ICE. To much parity in the industry pertaining to efficiency improvements for my liking. Toyota thought out of the box first with the Prius. GM had a fart come out in the form of the EV1 and some how they managed to suck that fart back up from which it came, we all watched how uncomfortable it was to do that, but they did.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think it has to do with the US's tax credit system. I heard that 24kwh was where the credit 'per kwh' maxes out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wow, your post got mucked up by autoblog pretty bad.

        That's nice and all, but the Coda looks like something developed for Mexico 's car market 15 years ago. Only the nuttiest of EV nuts will buy the thing. What are they thinking??

        Oh and.... Chinese chassis. Remember how bad Korean cars were when they came to the states? get ready for a new low O_O
      • 4 Years Ago
      at $3000 to 5000 premium, that would buy you 1100 to 1800 gallons of gas, with which at 50mpg, you can drive 57k to 94k miles just using the regular hybrid. Seems like a horrible incremental investment. oh... and you dont' have to even plug the darn thing in.

      I guess saving the planet and saving us from OPEC is worth it to some people.

      I just ride my bike and leave the car home, whatever.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But a car THAT fuel efficient will SELL as a Used car for a higher premium too!

        Just like my VW TDi cost $4k more, when NEW, than the gas version and gets 10 mpg better. But I bought it used (7 years old, 198k miles) for about $2k more than the used gas version. So the "premium" for the 1st buyer was only $2,000. Because the fuel economy did not degrade significantly.

        Today's Used Hybrids (such as the Prius) are still commanding a signifcant premium. Fuel Economy HOLDS VALUE better than Luxury attributes do.

        After 80k miles, I would HIGHLY DOUBT that the RAV4 EV will sell (or be traded in) for the same price as a 80k RAV4 gasser.

        *As long as you get the battery replaced under warranty, there is still a benefit to paying the premium*
        • 4 Years Ago
        Joe, i do the used car trade/sell thing every few years and you are totally right. Look at the resale values of Civics. A 1988 model is still worth $2000. Sometimes a used Civic costs more than a new one.

        I managed to get my girlfriend to sell her 2007 v6 Dodge Charger. She is going to lose about $15k on the car in 3 short years. This is a car that cost $25k originally. I told her to get rid of it now because it is depreciating faster than you can pay it off. She has $10k left on the loan and will get about $10k for the car.

        Bmw 5 series also typically cost a hell of a lot less to buy used than 3 series.

        Meanwhile, i have actually made money selling my Nissans and Hondas on Craigslist.

        It's totally true. People want more fuel efficient cars but can't afford them. This drives up the used values of economy cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm not knockin this at all. It's cool as hell that Toyota is jumping on board. But why electrify the RAV4.. How about a sedan/hatchy thing? something a little more accessible.

      It's just a strange choice of car to introduce as the first EV to come out of this company.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You've got a damn good point.

        I'd much rather have a more efficient small 2/3 door car myself. But yeah. Those SUV-lets certainly move off the lots.

        Damn you, American tastes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Compact SUVs pretty much dominate the suburban-mom demographic.

        I think the RAV4 is a great vehicle to electrify, precisely because it goes against the "eco-mobile" stigma that is (admittedly unfairly) attached to cars like the Prius. Buyers can have an EV that still feels safe and which gives them the commanding road presence they have come to expect from a larger vehicle.

        Besides, we all know that there is greater benefit to improving the mileage/efficiency of larger vehicles than there is to improving (already efficient) smaller sedans and hatches.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It should still be more efficient than the original Rav4-EV with its NiMH batteries. The original uses 300 to 350 watt-hours per mile (3.33 to 2.87 miles per kWh) according to a quick google search. So instead of being 5 times as efficient as a gas burner vehicle it'll *only* be 3 times as efficient. I think I could live with that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Doesn't compete with the electric cars and most importantly the prius.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A SUV is easiest to electrify in a hurry, as there is the space to put the batteries in.
        Saloons and small cars in particular are a lot tougher to do, and involve much more redesign, I would have thought.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I figured the form factor is part of it. But then you take a big hit in aerodynamics due to the size of the car, and also the ride height.

        So here it is, American style. the inefficient EV ;)
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