2012 Toyota RAV4 EV

» Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Reviews | Comments Off on 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV

It used to be that letting anyone – let alone a cadre of automotive journalists –drive a prototype vehicle before it was “consumer ready” was unheard of. Times are obviously changing.

Auto giant Toyota, working with small electric car startup, Tesla, plans on bringing an all-electric version of its RAV4 compact crossover SUV to market in 2012. The vehicle has been in development for about six months, but both companies felt confident enough in their progress to let a few dozen journalists test drive a dozen RAV4 EV prototypes during Toyota’s annual Sustainable Mobility Seminar in San Diego, California, last week.

Although the automotive world is currently gaga for electric cars, they aren’t a new concept. In fact, the RAV4 EV itself isn’t even a new concept for Toyota, with the company having built more than a thousand of them back in the nineties and early two-thousands to meet the now-defunct California zero emissions mandates of the time.

If you talk with any die-hard electric vehicle supporter, it’s a guarantee they will fondly speak of that original RAV4 EV. Unlike other icons of the era – like the GM EV1 and Honda EV Plus – there are still about a thousand RAV4 EVs driving around the US, some with 200,000 miles on their odometers. The excitement in that community surrounding the new RAV4 EV is palpable, but what does a vehicle like this mean for the modern era of electric cars?