Toyota RAV4 EV Electric SUV: A $50,000 Toy Or Statement?

Are you ready to pony up nearly $50,000 for the Tesla Motors influenced RAV4 EV? Toyota hopes you are, as yesterday it finally unveiled the highly anticipated, all-electric SUV at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. Price for the vehicle specifically is $49,800, which can be pushed downwards with tax credits.

Toyota said the RAV4 EV will offer drivers a range of approximately 100 miles and a charging time of around six hours on a 240V/40A charger. It will go on-sale initially in four California markets – Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles/Orange County and San Diego – in late summer, and the automaker projects sales volume over the next three years to be around 2,600 models sold.

Toyota RAV4 EV

image via Toyota

Now the nearly $50,000 sticker shock will fade for some when the $10,000 in tax credits are applied, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which could make it a little more competitive with other EV offerings such as the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric.

But what exactly do you get for $39,800? Its maker, for starters, says this electric vehicle “combines a Tesla designed and produced battery and electric powertrain with Toyota’s most popular SUV model.” Considering the base price for the 22/28 MPG 2012 model RAV4 is $22,600, it will definitely be an early adopter focus the electric version looks to go after.

As Forbes states so eloquently in its headline “In RAV4 EV, Toyota Has Luxury Of Not Caring If You Buy One,” the vehicle could really just be a niche product for some time to come. Considering this is one of the first true mainstream attempts at an all-electric vehicle that isn’t a car, is this the right strategy for Toyota to take? Could it quickly capture dominate market share in a nascent EV SUV market that has possible pent up consumer demand? A quote from Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division, offers some possible insight:

“We believe that the RAV4 EV will attract sophisticated early technology adopters, much like the first-generation Prius,” said Carter. “It’s designed for consumers who prioritize the environment and appreciate performance. We look forward to seeing how the market responds.”

Toyota said the RAV4 EV “allows drivers to select from two distinctly different drive modes,” one of which allows for the vehicle to go 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds, with a maximum speed of 100 mph. The other option puts the vehicle at 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds, with a maximum speed of 85 mph.  Maximum output from the electric powertrain is 154 HP (115kW) @ 2,800 rpm.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.


  • Reply May 20, 2012


    Well we have been waiting for this for so long. Its of course a cring out shame that canadians will have to wait a few more years to be able to get there hands on one of these beauties. We are proud owners of the prius and will no longer go back to gas only vehicles. In fact we will not even purchase another hybide. The next step for us will be FULL EV ONLY!

    Its high time for consumers to clean up their planet and realise that the ONLY real way to have a positive impact on our planet is to vote with our dollars. The world is lead by MONEY and this will never change. Since this is a FACT, then lets stop waiting for governement ( who is not really in control of anything ) and spend / invest our dollars(votes) wisely.

    PLEASE if you care about your planet go see the following and spread the information.

  • Reply August 11, 2012

    Samuel H.

    The Toyota RAV4 EV showcases some of the best electric tech out there. Granted the price is quite high, but it is not a normal SUV. It actually has the performance of a base Porsche Cayenne at a similar price. This is the vehicle it should be compared to; not the Ford Focus which is not even close in size, features, space, or performance.

    Also, it is a RAV4, one of the most loved small SUVs ever. There are reasons for that. The electric drive-train makes it much better by adding desirable features, such as efficiency and performance. If you have the money, buy it. You will not regret getting it. Plus, independent tests have shown that it is capable of doing up to 150 miles on a charge. The quoted 100-mile range is for those with a need for speed. Your real range will probably be somewhere between the two. This is an awesome vehicle in its own right. Go Tesla! (and Toyota)

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