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Monday, July 18, 2011

Toyota: No Electric RAV4 For You!

According to this source, Toyota will reserve its plug-in RAV4 product (co-produced with Tesla) for fleets and government entities, and won't sell them to the general public.

The Toyota RAV4 EV will make its comeback after first being sold 15 years ago. The vehicle won't be made available to consumers, Yoza said, instead they are focusing on "very strategic applications" such as fleets and car sharing programs. Despite being a BEV that could benefit from fast charging, the RAV4 EV will not include a CHAdeMO charging port. Yoza said Toyota will not offer fast charging on any vehicles until the SAE determines a standard.

 I can hear the shrieking of the BEV boosters all the way from my perch here in Detroit.  "Toyota thinks it's the 1990's!"  Several are probably loading up their super-8 movie cameras in preparation for "Who Killed The Electric Car 2".

Why would Toyota do it this way?  Simple.  Cost.  Chances are the RAV4 EV will be so expensive that Toyota doesn't want to lose a ton of money on them.  Think about the overhead for a new small volume vehicle--dealer training, special service tools, parts distribution.  Instead, by keeping it fleet only, Toyota can keep costs down by centralizing service and support.  

The RAV4 EV is mostly a product for CARB and the "green states" who follow California mandates.  It helps get Toyota the EV points it needs in California, so it can keep selling Tundras (13/17MPG) Sequoias (13/18MPG), FJ Cruisers (15/20MPG) and 4Runners (17/22MPG).   

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