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Ready Already: Toyota Rav4 EV by Tesla to Debut in Los Angeles

Ready Already: Toyota Rav4 EV by Tesla to Debut in Los Angeles

In one of the quickest turnarounds we’ve seen in years, the Toyota RAV4 EV that Tesla only agreed to build for the Japanese giant four months ago will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

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To be fair, by the time the companies announced the project, they already had a prototype built. Still, considering how fast they got a show car together, it’s likely that the drivetrain and battery system are very similar, if not identical, to the Tesla Roadster’s. All either company has said is that Tesla has been contracted to develop a battery, motor, gearbox and all related electronics for the RAV4 EV, for which Toyota will pay them a cool $60 million.

For the moment, Toyota’s only released these two teaser images of their nifty new badge and shout-out to Tesla on the speedometer. Further, the company has simply announced that the RAV4 EV will be at LA, but has kept all other details to itself. That means we won’t know the vehicle’s range, charge time, launch date or price until next week at the earliest. Unless more images are released, we won’t know what it’ll look like until next week either, though if the original RAV4 EV is any indication, the changes won’t be too radical save perhaps some aerodynamic improvements.

Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com next week for our complete live coverage of the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Source: Toyota

By Scott Evans

2013 Toyota RAV4 EV: Test Drive Review

2013 Toyota RAV4 EV CAPTIONS ON | OFF

If we aren’t yet past the old narrative that all electric cars are cheap and tiny egg-shaped golf carts, one trip in the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV should put that to bed.

The new generation of the RAV4 EV is one of the best examples yet of the viability of an electric future. It combines pleasing design, build quality, driving excitement, fuel economy and – here’s the kicker – utility like no other EV has. During a ride and drive event at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we had a chance to hop behind the wheel.

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV boasts a strong physique that doesn’t differentiate much from the standard, gas-burning RAV4, expect for a few details that make it appear leaner and cleaner to the eye. The RAV4 EV is sprinkled with LED running lights, tail and headlights that mix technology and luxury.

The green push button start brings the RAV4 EV to life with a soft tune and warm glow. Like most modern day electrics, it’s a breeze to drive at a level that is still somewhat surprising; it will take a while for the public to grow accustomed to silence on the road. Set off in Normal mode to maximize efficiency, or Sport mode to take advantage of all the instant torque under your right foot.

A lithium-ion battery system with 129 kW powers the AC induction motor, which boasts 154 horsepower and 218 lb.-ft of torque (273 in Sport mode). A 0.30 drag coefficient – downright amazing for an SUV – helps the RAV4 EV achieve an estimated 78/74 eMPG with a 103-mile electric range. But how does it drive? With a welcoming battery whine, off you go.

In motion, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV moves quickly and directly. Reporters talk about the way that electric cars “dart” and “zip” all the time, but you don’t much expect that from a five-seater SUV.

And yet, the steering is direct and light – the RAV4 EV reacts instantly to your commands and feels confident on its feet. There is none of the uneasiness of past electrics, and none of the clumsiness of a typical SUV. It feels light – not the steering, the actual car. In fact, the RAV4 EV tips the scales at 4,032 lbs., about 100 lbs. lighter than the standard RAV4, which is astounding considering the li-ion batteries alone weigh 845.5 lbs.

Engineers skewed the system by using the heavy batteries to give the RAV4 EV a low center of gravity, which accounts for its impressive balance. They didn’t save weight everywhere, though – the hood is pretty heavy, bolstered to protect the batteries in case of low speed collisions.

With a new Sport mode and clever weight distribution, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV not only deals with the reality of driving an electric car, it uses it to its advantage. If you want more style and range, spring for the Tesla Model S. If you want the most efficiency, check out the Honda Fit EV.

But if you need utility and still like to have fun, the RAV4 EV is an electric that isn’t just good for its owner – it’s good for the future of the EV industry.

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Find local Toyota RAV4 EV Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values7fa2fa6d-0cae-473e-92a6-d0ec76b4f9d1|6|3.0

By Ryan ZumMallen