With a starting price of around $40,000 after tax rebates, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV will be a great addition to California, the only market Toyota will sell their latest EV. Although only 2,600 of these EV SUVs are to be made, all will have Tesla batteries and motors thanks to the joint collaboration between the two companies..
About two years ago Toyota invested a good sum of money into Tesla, with an agreement to jointly develop a Toyota-branded EV using the Tesla's battery and electric motor technology. This $50 million investment also allowed for Toyota to learn more about Tesla's development process while giving huge credit to, theoretically, a start up company.
The electric motor from Tesla has been installed under the hood where the existing gas powered engine would have been installed.
Anton Wahlman, a contributor to The Street, was able to test drive the 2013 Tesla-based Toyota RAV4 EV. According to Wahlman, the exterior has undergone drastic aerodynamic improvements including lower drag bumpers which have made this SUV the most aerodynamically efficient truck on the mark today.
The current battery installed, (although other batteries might be available in the future), is Tesla designed and manufactured, and rated at 41.8 kWh capacity. To prolong life and performance, the available capacity that can be used in around 35 kWh, according to Wahlman. The battery, which is installed at the bottom of the truck, has its own warranty that lasts 8 years or 100,000 miles.
The electric engine has been installed in the front, as an internal combustion engine would be, so there is no loss in interior space. But as for that space inside the car, don't expect a Tesla environment despite the name under the hood. The basic interior space is reminiscent of other RAV4 models, with cloth seats and plastic almost everywhere. However, LED headlights and taillights now come standard in this variant, and a high quality navigation system is also available inside.
Although not scientific measurement by any means, Wahlman rated the 2013 Tesla-based Toyota RAV4 EV with a nine out of ten, saying it was a must buy. With the proven technology, long distance capabilities, and excellent entry level price, Wahlman says if you live in California, you must nab one of the 2,600 units before they are all sold out.
Here are some nice video montages of the 2013 Toyota RAV4 Electric:
To learn more about the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV and the test drive from Anton Wahlman, check out his article on The Street.