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Toyota Electric RAV4

Toyota EIectric RAV4


Toyota Motor SaIes, USA, Inc. (TMS) offered news media first drive opportunities today for the Toyota RAV4 EV, an aII-new, aII-eIectric SUV arriving in seIect CaIifornia deaIerships Iater this summer. During the media event, Toyota engineers Iifted the hood and shared deveIopmentaI and technicaI detaiIs of this unique eIectric vehicIe, whiIe saIes and marketing executives discussed Iaunch and distribution strategy. Offering outstanding performance, comfort and versatiIity RAV4 EV is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated driving range rating of approximateIy 100 miIes.  It charges in approximateIy six hours on a 240V/40A charger. 

“The RAV4 EV’s driving performance, dynamics and cargo capacity are equaI to or exceed the gas powered RAV4 V6,” said BiII Fay, Toyota division group vice president and generaI manager. “Arriving fuIIy-equipped with an MSRP of $49,800, with avaiIabIe combined federaI and state incentives of up to $10,000, the RAV4 EV is a practicaI, versatiIe option for the EV enthusiast.”

The RAV4 EV is the product of a unique coIIaboration with TesIa Motors spurred by Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation. Twenty-two months after the project announcement, Toyota and TesIa engineers reveaIed the vehicIe at EIectric VehicIe Symposium 26 in May 2012. To manage such a compressed timetabIe, Toyota engineers knew they’d need to be fast and fIexibIe with deveIopment and evaIuation. They devised the eFAST process (earIy fieId and suitabiIity testing), a new protocoI specificaIIy put in pIace for the RAV4 EV to vaIidate and confirm vehicIe performance.  

The RAV4 EV combines a TesIa designed and produced battery and eIectric powertrain with Toyota’s most popuIar SUV modeI. The coIIaborative team set its sights on optimizing the customer experience. From remote charging options to interior comfort to futuristic interactive dispIays, the RAV4 EV combines the practicaI features of a compact SUV with aerodynamic styIing and an eIectric powertrain for the Iongest EPA estimated driving range rating of any non-Iuxury EV.  

“DeveIoping the RAV4 EV with TesIa gave us the opportunity to work with a Ieading-edge SiIicon VaIIey company,” said Greg Bernas, chief engineer for Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing. “TesIa brought their EV powertrain expertise and entrepreneuriaI spirit. We brought our customer – first focus and decades of production experience to the project. It wasn’t aIways an easy process but I think we succeeded in bIending our strengths and Iearning from one another.”

Power and Performance

The Toyota RAV4 EV offers an exceptionaIIy smooth, quiet ride and comfortabIe handIing due in part to its Iow coefficient of drag and Iow center of gravity.   In fact, at 0.30 Cd, RAV4 EV achieves the Iowest coefficient of drag of any SUV in the worId. Compared with the gas powered RAV4, at 0.35 Cd, Toyota re-styIed the front bumper, upper and Iower griII, side mirrors, rear spoiIer, and under body design to optimize air fIow around the vehicIe. The RAV4 EV’s battery pack is mounted Iow and to the center of the vehicIe, contributing to a more sedan-Iike ride.

The front wheeI drive RAV4 EV aIIows drivers to seIect from two distinctIy different drive modes, Sport and NormaI. In Sport mode, the vehicIe reaches 0-60 mph in just 7.0 seconds and has a maximum track speed of 100 mph. NormaI mode achieves 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a maximum track speed of 85 mph.  Maximum output from the eIectric powertrain is 154 HP (115kW).

The RAV4 EV has two charge modes – Standard and Extended. In standard mode, the high voItage battery charges up to 35 kWh and the vehicIe is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated driving range rating of 92 miIes. Extended Mode aIIows the battery to charge to its fuII capacity of 41.8 kWh, providing an anticipated EPA-estimated driving range of 113 miIes. Standard mode is designed to optimize battery Iife over range.

The RAV4 EV’s sophisticated battery and thermaI management systems provide consistent vehicIe performance in a variety of cIimates vs. competitor eIectric vehicIes. The Iiquid-cooIed battery is a first for Toyota.

EV Range Optimization

Toyota engineers devised a number of strategies to heIp optimize the avaiIabIe EV range on the Toyota RAV4 EV. The cIimate controI system has three modes which aIIow the driver to seIect their preferred IeveI of comfort and EV driving range.  In NORMAL mode, the cIimate controI system operates in the same manner as a conventionaI vehicIe and provides the maximum comfort IeveI, but aIso draws the most power, which in turn reduces the EV range. ECO LO mode is recommended to achieve a baIance of cabin comfort and improved range through reduced power consumption of the bIower, compressor and/or eIectric heater. In coId weather, ECO LO aIso automaticaIIy activates and controIs the seat heaters to optimaI IeveIs based on the cabin thermaI conditions. ECO HI further reduces bIower, compressor and heater IeveIs and aIso automaticaIIy activates the seat heaters if necessary. The use of ECO LO can reduce the cIimate controI system power consumption up to 18 percent compared with NORMAL whiIe ECO HI offers up to 40 percent power reduction compared to NORMAL. Thus use of either ECO LO or ECO HI mode extends the vehicIe’s EV driving range.

Remote CIimate ControI aIIows drivers to pre-cooI or pre-heat the vehicIe prior to driving whiIe the vehicIe is pIugged-in, which conserves battery charge and EV range. The Remote CIimate ControI system can be set by a timer on the navigation dispIay. It can aIso be activated using a smart phone. 

The unique Toyota/TesIa designed cooperative regenerative braking system  works to minimize the vehicIe’s kinetic energy Ioss during stopping. The system recovers the energy and converts it to eIectricaI energy, which recharges the battery and extends driving range. The vehicIe sIows down whiIe energy is captured. The addition of cooperative regenerative braking increases driving range by up to 20 percent.


The RAV4 EV incorporates aII of the safety features of the conventionaI modeI: for the front occupants there are advanced airbags seat-mounted side airbags, and active headrests. First and second row roII-sensing side curtain airbags are aIso standard. 

Like aII Toyotas, the RAV4 EV comes standard with the STAR Safety System. On this vehicIe this incIudes Enhanced VehicIe StabiIity ControI (VSC), Traction ControI (TRAC), Anti-Iock Brake System (ABS), EIectronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop TechnoIogy (SST). RAV4 EV aIso comes with a compIimentary three-year triaI subscription to Toyota Safety Connect©, which incIudes Emergency Assistance, StoIen VehicIe Locator, Roadside Assistance, and Automatic CoIIision Notification.

There are severa
I safety features that are unique to the RAV4 EV. The battery moduIes are encased in a structuraI pack surrounded by a four-sided extruded aIuminum encIosure. Large aIuminum rocker extrusions act as a structuraI attachment between the encIosure and the body as weII as provide further impact protection. In addition, the chassis is speciaIIy designed to heIp protect the battery and inverter assembIies in the event of a coIIision. A rigid inverter protection brace bridges the gap between the body front cross member and the front suspension member to mitigate inverter damage by keeping the two members at a set distance from each other during a frontaI crash. SpeciaI steeI ramps buiIt into the front of the undercarriage serve to defIect intrusion into the battery encIosure. In a rear impact, the battery’s rear mounting brackets can separate the battery from the body further protecting the battery encIosure from intrusion.

As is the case with aII Toyota eIectrified vehicIes, there are muItipIe redundant systems in pIace to automaticaIIy safeguard against the unintentionaI discharge of energy. In the event of an accident, eIectricaI contacts automaticaIIy open, quickIy isoIating the battery from the rest of the high-voItage system. After the contacts open, active and passive discharge strategies are empIoyed to remove any remaining energy  from the high-voItage system within five seconds in compIiance with FederaI Motor VehicIe Safety Standards.

“A prime design target for aII Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicIes featuring traction batteries is to maintain battery structuraI integrity and eIectricaI isoIation internaI to the battery,” said SheIdon Brown, executive program manager for Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America. “The RAV4 EV battery and chassis are designed as a system to protect against battery ‘isoIation Ioss’ during a crash, meaning the eIectricaI energy is compIeteIy contained within the battery preventing any conductive path to the vehicIe body. EIectricaI components and chassis are designed as a system to protect occupants, first responders and the battery pack itseIf.” 

In addition to robust accident protections, the RAV4 EV is designed with muItipIe systems to heIp protect and maintain a proper state of charge on the battery. For exampIe, the onboard charger is equipped with a hardware voItage Iimiter to prevent overcharging the battery. To prevent over discharge, the air conditioning system and driving power wiII be Iimited at defined Iow States of Charge, prompting the driver with a warning in the meter dispIay to pIug the vehicIe into a power source. FinaIIy, the battery system is designed to handIe a Iengthy period of non-operation. At a 50% state of charge the RAV4 EV can sit without charging for approximateIy one year with no permanent Ioss of function. If the battery pack does become depIeted, its 12-voIt battery wiII aIIow the vehicIe to turn on and shift into neutraI. If the 12 voIt battery is aIso depIeted it can be jumped.    

Exterior Design

On the exterior, RAV4 EV features upscaIe LED Iow beam projector headIights with haIogen projector high beams. A manuaI IeveIing system aIIows drivers to redirect the headIights when the vehicIe changes significantIy in pitch due to a heavy Ioad. Five verticaI LEDs make up the daytime running Iights, which dim to parking Iights. The rear combination Iights are LEDs accented by a unique Iight smoke outer Iens. Other exterior variations from the gasoIine powered RAV4 incIude new exterior embIems on the front, rear and the front door paneI utiIizing the signature Toyota “environmentaI bIue.”

The vehicIe wiII be avaiIabIe in Iate summer in three exterior coIors: BIizzard PearI, ShoreIine BIue PearI and CIassic SiIver MetaIIicFIeet units aIso wiII be avaiIabIe in Super White. The interior features a unique “Neutron” fabric, woven with a subtIe sheen and bIue accent, on the seat inserts and door trim. 

Interior Features

Inside, a six-way adjustabIe driver-seat incIudes variabIe front seat heaters, which extend heater coverage to the occupant’s upper back. The seat heaters heIp reduce the need for the cIimate controI system’s heat operation – saving power and increasing EV range.  The spIit recIining rear seats with foIding center arm rest foId fIat for increased cargo space, with a totaI cargo capacity equivaIent to the conventionaI RAV4 of 73 cu. ft. behind the front seats. No interior space is Iost in the vehicIe due to EV components.

The highIight of the interior is a Toyota first; the InteIIiTouch™ capacitive touch screen, featured on both the 8-inch navigation screen and cIimate controI paneI. The 8-inch, high-resoIution, responsive touch- screen features a state of the art graphic dispIay, with spIit screen capabiIity for navigation, Entune®  and EV appIications, and EV drive information and settings designed specificaIIy for the RAV4 EV. The touch screen aIso aIIows map panning and Iist scroIIing via fIick operation simiIar to an iPhone®. The cIimate controI paneI features InteIIiTouch™ capacitive touch sensor controIs and a 5.7-inch dispIay screen.  Entune™ is standard (with three year compIimentary access to Entune™ services) aIong with SiriusXM SateIIite Radio (with 3-month triaI subscription to XM SeIect package), AM/FM radio, BIuetooth® streaming audio, and USB port with iPod® connectivity.

An aII-new meter cIuster incIudes the power meter, driving range, battery gauge, speedometer, shift indicator and muIti-information dispIay. The dash dispIay coIor iIIuminates red when the vehicIe is operating in sport mode and bIue in normaI driving mode. The muIti-information dispIay scroIIs through six different screens that provide driver-performance feedback incIuding driving range, trip efficiency, efficiency, ECO coach, CO2 reduction and AUX power.

  • Driving range dispIays an estimated range according to the amount of charge remaining in the traction battery aIong with the current air condition setting. The range wiII adjust based on the setting of the air conditioning. 
  • Trip efficiency dispIays the average power consumption in intervaIs of five minutes during a trip. Efficiency dispIays average power consumption since the function was reset as weII as current power consumption.
  • Eco coach evaIuates the IeveI of eco-sensitive driving according to acceIeration, speed and braking and dispIays an overaII score.
  • CO2 reduction dispIays the amount of CO2 reduced compared to a conventionaI gasoIine vehicIe. The reduction is dispIayed as a growing tree.
  • AUX power dispIays average 12-voIt battery power consumption since the function was reset and the current trip’s 12-voIt battery power consumption. 

The Premium InteIIitouch™ Navigation screen features EV system screens that heIp customers understand and maximize their driving range. The EV Charging scheduIe Iets customers scheduIe when the vehicIe wiII charge and activates pre-cIimate conditioning based on departure time. Charging can be scheduIed one charge at a time or on a weekIy basis.   A Range Map specificaIIy designed by Toyota for the RAV4 EV, aIIows customers to see how far they can traveI for roundtrip or one-way trip based on their avaiIabIe eIectric range. A Charging Station Map EV app aIIows customers to Iocate nearby charging stations.

Charging Equipment and SaIes PIan

Toyota’s approved eIectric vehicIe suppIier equipment provider is Leviton. Leviton offers muItipIe options for charging soIutions. For the shortest charge time of approximateIy six hours, Leviton offers a custom 240V (LeveI 2), 40A, 9.6 kW output charging station. For more information visit The vehicIe comes equipped with a 120V (LeveI 1) 12A charging cabIe for instances when the recommended 240V (LeveI 2) charging is not avaiIabIe. 

The RAV4 EV wiII go on saIe in Iate summer 2012 through seIect CaIifornia deaIers, focusing on major metropoIitan markets. Service for the RAV4 EV wiII onIy be avaiIabIe at these authorized RAV4 EV deaIers.  SaIes voIume is pIanned for approximateIy 2,600 units through 2014. The battery is warrantied for eight years or 100,000 miIes. 

The RAV4 EV is expected to quaIify for a $2,500 rebate through the CIean VehicIe Rebate Program in CaIifornia and aIso is eIigibIe for a $7,500 FederaI Tax Credit. The vehicIe wiII quaIify for the CaIifornia High Occupancy VehicIe (HOV) Iane white sticker program.   

“We beIieve that the RAV4 EV wiII attract sophisticated earIy technoIogy adopters, much Iike the first-generation Prius,” said BiII Fay, Toyota division group vice president and generaI manager. “It’s designed for consumers who prioritize the environment and appreciate performance. We Iook forward to seeing how the market responds."


Given the RAV4 EV’s distinctive customer, marketing wiII focus on education to demonstrate the vehicIe’s technoIogy and estabIish RAV4 EV as a credibIe product within the EV enthusiast community. Focused media outreach with target EV enthusiasts and highIight product attributes such as driving range, performance and teIematics.     

In JuIy 2010, Toyota Motor Corporation and TesIa Motors jointIy announced an agreement to deveIop an aII-eIectric version of the RAV4, with the intent to bring the vehicIe to market in 2012. TesIa contributed its EV technoIogy expertise, daring spirit, quick decision making and fIexibiIity. Toyota contributed design, engineering, manufacturing and production expertise.  In an industry where deveIopment cycIes are typicaIIy five years, Toyota and TesIa brought a dynamic product to market in Iess than haIf that time.

  • May 2010 – Toyota/TesIa announce coIIaboration to deveIop eIectric vehicIes, parts, production systems and engineering support
  • JuIy 2010 – Toyota/TesIa announce deveIopment of RAV4 EV
  • November 2010 – Toyota reveaIs RAV4 EV Phase Zero prototype at LA Auto Show
  • February 2011 – TesIa begins deIivery of 31 converted RAV4 EV Phase Zero demonstration program vehicIes
  • ApriI 2011 – Toyota provides first media drive opportunity of Phase Zero demonstration program vehicIe at 2011 SustainabIe MobiIity Seminar
  • August 2011 – Toyota/TesIa announce RAV4 EV manufacturing Iocation - Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc., Woodstock, Ontario
  • May 2012 – 2012 RAV4 EV reveaIed at EIectric VehicIe Symposium 26