2012 Toyota RAV4 EV: Some Dealers Already Accepting Orders

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2012 Toyota RAV4 EV launch at EVS-26, Los Angeles, April 2012

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV launch at EVS-26, Los Angeles, April 2012

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When Toyota first announced that it was going to resurrect its iconic RAV4 EV after an absence of nearly ten years, electric car fans rejoiced. After all, the original 1997-2003 RAV4 EVs are so reliable and so beloved that they still command a high price at auction. 

When the production version of the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV was finally unveiled earlier this month, Toyota admitted that it planned to produce fewer than 1,000 examples a year, essentially confirming the theory that the RAV4 EV is nothing more than a California “Compliance Car”.

But compliance car or not, interest surrounding the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is so high that some Toyota dealers are starting unofficial order lists. 

“Toyota of Palo Alto will be selling the Toyota RAV4 EV and is accepting orders now,” a previous-generation Toyota RAV4 EV owner wrote on the RAV4 EV Owners list.  “Delivery is planned for late this year.”

Officially, Toyota hasn’t opened its order books for the all-electric crossover SUV, but according to 2002 RAV4 EV owner Marc Geller, some dealers might even be taking deposits.

“I’ve heard they are taking deposits, or at least making a list,” he told us. “Me too,” electric vehicle advocate Chelsea Sexton confirms. “What they’re doing isn’t 'official', but it’s also not uncommon.”

Engineered in collaboration with Tesla, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV has a 10-kilowatt on-board charger, 41.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack and an expected range of 100 miles per charge. 

Toyota has set a recommended retail price of $49,800 before incentives, and hopes 90 percent of vehicles will go to private buyers as either outright purchases or through a leasing scheme. 

Deliveries aren’t expected to occur until later on this year, but with demand already high, we can’t imagine Toyota having any difficulty finding buyers for the all-electric SUV. 

Of course, there is still one catch: Toyota only plans to make 2,600 RAV4 EVs over the next three years -- and it only plans to sell the car in four areas of California. 


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Comments (12)
  1. That's all Toyota is planning to sell, and only in one state? What will they do with the one or two million orders and deposits throughout the rest of America, say, "The hell with you, we don't need or want your order, and stop coming around our dealerships," and return the deposits and stick their middle finger up at the rest of America? I would expect better from Toyota since they are coupled with Tesla - the best electric car maker in America.

  2. Yes, Tesla is so amazing. They've released so many cars and I'm enjoying the extended range of my Telsa S right now.

    Toyota doesn't have to do anything with the deposits since they're not taking them - the dealers are and they're an independent entity. Jebus, James...

  3. You're taking a dig at a startup company for not releasing a ton of cars? The Model S is being delivered in less than a month.

  4. Compliance car or not, the Rav4EV may actually sell out quickly!

  5. May??!! sell out quickly?? The pent up demand alone for an ev suv means that Toyota could sell 26K of them the first year let alone 2,600 of them in 3 years. They will definitely sell out quickly...it's just a matter how much of a "market adjustment" those damn dealers are going to try to soak out of the buyers. My guess is at least $5K.

    This is a weak, cowardly move by Toyota. I understand the low numbers for the first year to gauge consumer interest but to have the next three years production numbers already fixed is bs!! Toyota should seize this market now!!

    Is it possible the ev drivetrain deal w/ Telsa limits the ev Rav4 production numbers so as to lessen competition w/ the upcoming Telsa model S n future Telsa model X???

  6. @Erik: The market for SUVs at $50K+ isn't that large compared to crossovers from $20K to about $32K.

    Sure, there's the Federal tax credit of $7,500, but the RAV4 EV will compete with small Audi or Mercedes-Benz crossovers. It's not an alternative to a gasoline RAV4 that starts at $22,650.

    I am quite skeptical of your blanket statement that demand exists for 26,000 RAV4 EVs a year. Toyota sold exactly 5 times that number of RAV4s in 2011, most likely at an average price below $30K.

    That's also 50% more than all the plug-ins sold in the U.S. during 2011, and would represent more than 50% of the total expected for 2012. I believe demand > 2,600 units, but....

  7. It seemed to me that a gasoline-RAV4 with comparable performance and equipment costs about $30k.

    As you can see from the comments below, people use the $50k figure to compare it against cars as for example the Prius V, which does not get the $7.5k tax credit. It would be unwise for EV manufacturers to list the price "before incentives".

    In CA, the $2.5k rebate is still available, and compared to a gas RAV4, there is HOV lane access which I hear has a value of $2k - $3k.

    So the electric RAV4 compares with $37.5k against $30k. According to your article, gas costs make up for that in maybe 8 years. You'd be left with weighing higher repair and maintenance costs (ICE), vs. battery replacement (EV), not counting the "green" benefits in $$$.

  8. Perhaps they'll change their minds when they see how many Model X units Tesla sells starting next year.

  9. Would you buy RAV-EV for $50k or Tesla S for $50k?


  10. Do you mean to say that the RAV4 EV's are made in Ontario and the Ontario government gave them a big grant to help with production costs, and they won't even be available for sale in Ontario? Major rip-off! Shame on you, Toyota!

  11. Almost $50K??? Sorry, but a Prius V is a much better choice. Or better yet, wait for the plug-in Prius V. The Leaf and Volt are much more usable vehicles than this old, old, old chassis that has been tarted up to last a few more years in the market. People in CA only will consider them for HOV lane access and to look faux green like Ed whatshisname.

  12. For people that want a small SUV, this is the only thing on the market right now and we need diversity of choices. I also don't think many EV buyers are fake green to drive in an HOV lane. That would be very weird.

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