Toyota Wraps Up Production of RAV4 EV

By · September 29, 2014

Toyota RAV4 EV

The Toyota RAV4 EV, the only all-electric SUV available anywhere in the United States, this month reached the conclusion of its limited production run. According to InsideEVs.com, all 2,600 planned models of the vehicle have been produced and shipped, with only approximately 300 units remaining to be sold or leased.

The story of the 2012 RAV4 EV represented the melding of two disparate corporate cultures—Toyota, as the conservative Japanese automotive giant, and Tesla, the disruptive California start-up. It commenced in May 2010, when Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, and Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota, announced the project in California, with then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presiding.

Toyota said it was seeking to gain inspiration from Tesla’s entrepreneurial spirit. The RAV4 EV was only sold in select markets in California.

The heart and soul of the RAV4 EV is an electric drivetrain from Tesla Motors. By virtue of its collaboration with Tesla, Toyota transformed its sedate Toyota utility wagon into a high-riding two-ton beast. Moreover, its 41.8-kWh battery pack—providing about 120 miles of real-world range—leads all other EVs, except for the significantly pricier Tesla Model S.

In Sport Mode, the electric RAV goes from 0-60 in about seven seconds, and zooms to a maximum speed of 100 mph. The Sport mode provides 154 horsepower. Its 273 pound-feet of torque, which often produces tire chirp at launch, is cut to a calmer 218 pound-feet when operating in Normal mode. While the Sport Mode is great for a burst of highway passing power, when launching from stop and stomping your foot on the accelerator, the vehicle's body rises and dips and the steering wiggles left and right. When pushed to its limits, the Tesla system overpowers the capabilities of the Toyota vehicle platform.

Inside’s reported that about 2,533 RAV4 EVs are in circulation, with the remaining 67 as display or test vehicles.

Buyers interested in the vehicle will need to move fast to find a remaining unit, or keep an eye on the used market. With the end of the RAV4 EV run, Toyota will no longer offer an all-electric car, and consumers wanting an electric SUV will have to wait for the upcoming expensive luxury Tesla Model X. Mitsubishi produces a plug-in hybrid version of its Outlander, but its arrival to the United States market remains uncertain.

Future maintenance of the Toyota RAV4 EV is also questionable. Service for the platform can be handled like any Toyota vehicle. But it’s not yet entirely clear how owners will obtain service and parts –such as battery cells and controllers—for the Tesla powertrain.

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