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Toyota RAV4 EV prototype – Click above for high-res image gallery

For the sake of argument, let's posit that a Mitsubishi i is too odd looking for your tastes, a Nissan Leaf is still a bit too compact, and that your idea of a perfect battery-powered vehicle is something crossover-shaped. Well, you're in luck because the Toyota-Tesla Motors partnership is set to release its RAV4 EV in early 2012, right? Well, yes, and, in some critical ways, no.

Why? Well, unless you operate a fleet or a car-sharing program, chances are good that you won't be able to buy a RAV4 EV. According Pike Research, Geri Yoza, Toyota's National Business Planning Manager of Advanced Vehicle Marketing, has gone on record saying that while the electric-only RAV4 will indeed make its comeback (a first-gen version was first sold some 15 years ago), the electrified CUV won't be made available to the general public. Instead, Yoza says, Toyota will focus on "very strategic applications" (read: fleets and car-sharing programs) for the RAV4 EV.

And, despite being a electric vehicle that could benefit from quick charging, Yoza says the RAV4 EV will not come equipped with a CHAdeMO charging port, stating that Toyota will not offer a quick-charge setup on any of its electrified vehicles until the SAE finalizes a standard.

Let's hope that Yoza's admission is slightly inaccurate and that Toyota will eventually sell the RAV4 EV to the public. Otherwise, the only electric CUV on the market in 2012 will be one that folks like us can't even buy.

*UPDATE: Instead of using the strikeout feature in this entire post, here's an update direct from Pike Research: "Toyota called to clarify that the vehicle that will only be sold to fleets is the Scion iQ EV, not the RAV4 EV as we were previously told." So, um, yeah.


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Photos copyright ©2011 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

[Source: Pike Research via All Cars Electric]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      EV Now
      • 3 Years Ago
      As I've said all along this is pure CARB play. Starting next year, all major auto makers need to sell zero emission cars in CA. That is why you will see Honda Fit EV as well. Let us see if they sell that to consumers or just fleets. Toyota & Honda will be left in the dustbin of history. Pathetic leadship, I guess.
      wardialer
      • 3 Years Ago
      disappointing. toyota is still making enough money from prius sales and have probably invested in more R&D for hybrids for the next several years. they're not ready to start cannibalizing sales from their greenest offering w/ an electric car, besides they're still making good money licensing their hybrid technology to other automakers who are even further behind in the EV race. or they could just be waiting for the last of their first gen RAV4 EVs to kick the bucket before releasing the same car 12 years later with the exact same range and performance, probably at a higher MSRP.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yes, whatever you do, don't sell the product of the future to us Americans.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nissan jumped throught a lot of hoops to train their dealerships to sell and maintain Leafs properly. I'd say Toyota doesn't want to jump through those same hoops for what is likely a much more limited production run.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Grow a pair and start selling an EV, Toyota. I hope Nissan & GM blow past Toyota, they are putting in the effort.
        joceclam
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        ... and Mitsubishi. The iMIEV will be available in Canada as of December 2011.
      uncle_sam
      • 3 Years Ago
      It would make no sense. Toyota invested with Panasonic a lot in tesla and gave them the nummi plant, to make 200.000 EVs p.a. The Toyota iQ ev or Scion iQ EV has a very limited range. I'd see that rather in fleet use. If one removes the backseats it would also be sufficient as tiny delivery wagon.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh man! C'mon Toyota -- just build 'em the best you can and let the demand do what it will... Neil
      Chris M
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bloggers can make mistakes, too, glad to see the correction. It is a bit hard to understand why commercial fleet operators would be interested in the tiny IQ-EV, it would be almost useless for delivering cargo, and severely limited for shuttling around personnel. Maybe it could be used for mail couriers instead of bicycles, where the small size and ease of parking might come in handy.
      Roy_H
      • 3 Years Ago
      Come on guys, Toyota is only doing what makes best sense for a new product. Market initial versions to a small number of fleet customers so if there are any problems, it is much easier to handle. The RAV4 EV will be available to the general public in 2013, just a little longer wait than you would like. It will be more reliable, with any problems identified and fixed.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        That's my take on it, too. They may decide on an earlier general public release if plug-in sales continue to climb, though. One other thought - maybe Toyota is delaying the general public launch until Tesla launches it's CUV-EV (Model X?), letting Tesla pave the way, so to speak.
          Roy_H
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Chris M
          Tesla's CUV-EV is a long way off. It is not even certain it will come to market. As a small company Tesla will be like Maserati, Ferrari, Aston-Martin etc, building niche cars. Making the step to compete with Nissan, Toyota, GM etc is IMHO unrealistic. Tesla has been fortunate to be able to partner with Toyota, and through them they will sell their technology, but they will be Toyotas "Powered by Tesla". I think Tesla will expand into several models, but all high end.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is based on tesla's battery tech & toyota is too proud to sell something they didn't invent, even if it is an excellent vehicle.
      • 3 Years Ago
      whoa, I had to check my calendar, for a minute there I thought it was 1997 all over again… The high flying days of automakers announcing EVs to the general public then when push came to shove there was no follow through beyond the initial hype and press release. The late 1990s Rav4 EV was arguably one of the best EVs put into production in that time period and even today 15 years later is still a strong and very capable EV when your can gets your hands on one.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota will continue to loose market share to Nissan. People want full EV's right now and if Toyota will not supply them, then people will go to the company that will supply them with what they want. kjd http://www.evalbum.com/3175
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