Toyota RAV4 EV (2012) - a Toyota/Tesla electric SUV

Published: 08 May 2012

The Toyota RAV4 has been turned into the only all-electric SUV on the market after a heart transplant from Tesla Motors. 

The RAV4 EV has been given batteries and drivetrain bits from the Silicon Valley start-up to turn Toyota’s most popular SUV into an electric-only vehicle with a 100-mile range.

Toyota RAV4 EV: how it works

A massive 422kg of batteries provide the power for the RAV4 EV, mounted low down in the centre of the vehicle to improve weight distribution. Toyota says that despite the new powertrain, no compromises have been made on passenger space. 

Two driving modes offer a choice of speed or economy, Normal and Sport. Normal will send the RAV4 from 0-60mph in 8.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 85mph; Sport mode will take you there in 7.0sec and up to 100mph. On full tap, the batteries provide 154 electric horses to the front wheels.

While the 100-mile range is generous, a full charge takes six full hours from a 240V/40A charger. That’s reasonable for an electric vehicle, but still inconvenient compared to the pumps.

Not such a drag

The RAV4’s body has been modified, too. More streamlined addenda (including bumper, grille, mirrors, underbody and rear spoiler) drop the RAV4’s Cd to just 0.30 for gains in economy and top speed. Toyota claims that makes it the slipperiest SUV on the planet.

The RAV4 EV will first go on sale in California at a few select dealers before being rolled out in four metropolitan areas of the US. There are no current plans to import the electric RAV4 to Europe.

A fully equipped RAV4 EV will set back a Californian citizen $49,800 when it goes on sale in the US.