The 2013 RAV4 EV is a pretty nice car. With Tesla-made battery and powertrain, it gives you good power, a 100-mile range, classy interior and equipment, and plenty of room. Read here a short version of its features.
However, there are a few—let us call them—restrictions. The biggest is price: a whopping $50,610, including destination charge and not including Federal and California tax rebates, which can knock off $10 grand. A very mid-level car with a luxury pricetag.
The second restriction is that it’s available in only four California regions: Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles/Orange County and San Diego. The company expects to sell a mere 2,600 over three years.
The third restriction is that this is clearly a so-called “compliance car,” built to sell only in small numbers to satisfy California’s zero-emissions requirements. The law essentially requires that in order to sell cars in the state, a carmaker has to build at least some few ZEVs.
A new amendment to the law, still under advisement, requires that by 2025 15.4 percent of all cars sold in the state must be ZEVs (plug-ins, EVs or fuel-cell cars). If the state follows through, that will put “serious strains” on dealers, infrastructure, other states, you name it. The implications are vast.
Green Car Reports’ John Voelcker recently gave a good blast to the industry and its phony commitments to build EVs. He included the RAV4 EV as one of these fake efforts, saying Toyota “just doesn’t believe in” battery-electric cars. The law itself is also very much misconceived if it permits these kinds of workarounds.
The long and short is that California is the single largest car market in the U.S. and that most makers are just dangling their feet in the EV water. The exceptions are the Volt and Leaf, which indeed are built to sell in a mass market, even if they aren’t making much headway.
The RAV4 EV is basically a redesign of the gas-powered version with the new electric stuff transplanted by Tesla. One of the clues that the car is simply not ready for prime time is its charging capability. A full charge via the optional 240-volt charger takes 6 hours, we are told. No time is given for the onboard 110-volt charge system. It probably takes two days.
Is the “phony” RAV4 EV yet another disaster in the development of electric and plug-in vehicles?