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Toyota Pulling Plug on RAV4-EV

Maker shifting focus from battery-electric to hydrogen power.

by on May.16, 2014

Toyota only planned to sell 2,500 RAV4-EVs.

Toyota is pulling the plug on the RAV4-EV, the battery-electric version of the soft-roader it introduced two years ago with the help of electric vehicle start-up Tesla Motors.

This year’s phase-out of the RAV4-EV comes as the Japanese giant gets ready to launch its new hydrogen-powered FCV, which made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show last autumn. While it has been the most successful manufacturer of conventional hybrids, Toyota has repeatedly expressed its concerns about pure battery-electric vehicles relying on advanced lithium-ion batteries.

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The move also comes as Tesla gets ready to launch its own, first battery-electric SUV, the Model X due to market something in 2015.

“Our contract called for Tesla to supply approximately 2500 battery-electric powertrains for the RAV4 EV.  We anticipate that volume will be achieved this year,” noted John Hanson, Toyota’s national manager of advanced technology communications.


Toyota Makes it Official With $50,000 RAV4-EV Launch

Maker promises 100-mile range, sporty performance.

by on May.07, 2012

The Toyota RAV4-EV will be sold in only 4 "select" California markets.

Toyota is charging into the electric vehicle market.  Barely two months after beginning sales of its first plug-in hybrid the Japanese giant has officially launched the new RAV4-EV, a fully-electric version of its popular “cute-ute.”

Priced at $49,800 — before a $7,500 federal tax credit – the Japanese maker plans to use the RAV4-EV to test market interest in battery-electric propulsion which got off to a slow start in 2011.  Significantly, the battery-powered ute was developed as part of an unusual alliance between Toyota and California electric vehicle start-up Tesla Motors.

(For more on Toyota’s increasing reliance on joint ventures and alliances, Click Here.)

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The RAV4-EV is expected to get “approximately” 100 miles range and Toyota estimates it will be able to recharge in as little as six hours using a high-power charger. It will meanwhile deliver similar performance to that of the conventional, gasoline-powered RAV4 crossover-ute, according to the maker.


Toyota To Reveal New Prius-Badged Hybrid At Detroit Auto Show

Maker plans an array of battery vehicles and even a hydrogen car – but still is betting big on hybrids.

by on Oct.14, 2010

The Prius FT-HC concept could soon morph into a production vehicle, Toyota planning to use the Prius badge on a "family" of hybrids.

Toyota will introduce an all-new hybrid-electric vehicle that will share the Prius badge with the maker’s existing 4-door hybrid, the first step in a strategy to turn the Prius name into a green-tinged brand-within-a-brand.

“It will be an all-new model,” said Don Esmond, the senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales USA, during an appearance before the Automotive Press Association.  And it will make its first appearance at the Detroit Auto Show, in January 2011.

While he hinted it will be “more stylish” and “more versatile,” Esmond shied away from offering any other hard details other than to say it will be part of a growing “family” that will share the Prius name with the original hybrid.  That Toyota model remains not only the most popular of Toyota’s gas-electric models but accounts for roughly half of all hybrids sold in the United States.

Esmond did suggest there are at least two key niches that Toyota would like to expand the new Prius family into.  The first would be a larger model, probably a crossover.  The other would be an even smaller and less expensive hybrid offering, which could mean something in the $15,000 range.

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The timing of the concept reveal would suggest the new Prius-badged hybrid could make it to market as early as the 2012 model-year.

Expanding the use of the Prius badge is potentially risky, especially if a new model falls short of expectations, but because it has an extremely high consumer awareness factor the approach also offers a potential kick-start for any new model.