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.
- Toyota RAV4 EV