2012 Toyota Rav4 EV. Credit: Toyota
2012 Toyota Rav4 EV. Credit: Toyota

Toyota has announced the release of its 2012 all-electric RAV4. This is the company’s second effort at making a green RAV4. The unveiling of the small SUV, which will be powered by Tesla, took place Monday at the Los Angeles Convention Center as part of the 26th International Electric Vehicle Symposium. Toyota leased a version of the electric RAV4 from 1997 to 2003. Many of the original models, which were subsequently bought, are still on the roads.

The specs

The RAV4 EV combines a Tesla designed and produced battery and electric power train with Toyota’s small SUV. The electric RAV4 has an anticipated driving range of about 100 miles which is, sadly, not much different than its predecessor. The charging time should be about 6 hours using a 240v charger. The Tesla components will be manufactured at the Tesla location in Palo Alto. The manufacturing of the Rav4 EV will take place at Toyota’s plant in Ontario.

Unveiling of Toyota's Rav4 EV in Los Angeles
Unveiling of Toyota's Rav4 EV in Los Angeles. Credit: Jessica Gilman

What does an electric RAV4 driver think?

Jay Friedland has put 93,000 miles on his 2001 all-electric RAV4 and still gets about 85 miles per full charge. Although he has not driven the 2012 model, he likes his old RAV4 EV so much that he visited a Palo Alto Toyota dealer four months ago to put a deposit down on the new model. “I have been waiting for a long time,” says Friedland who was at Monday’s unveiling. “It was the car that changed my life,” he explains.

After going electric eleven years ago, Friedland became a major advocate of the electric drive and is now the legislative director for Plug-In America where he works on EV policy and government incentives.

Friedland was part of the group Don’tcrush.com which urged Toyota not to demolish its electric RAV4s when the Japanese car maker discontinued the model. Unlike GM with its EV 1, Toyota eventually allowed drivers to buy their lease out. “I love the quiet, the fast acceleration, the fact that I’ve saved 45 tons of CO2 from going into the atmosphere,” Friedland says.

Where can I get one?

The MSRP for the new, electric RAV4 is expected to be $49,800, before tax credits. The car will go on sale later this year in select markets including Los Angeles, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego.


Andrea Kissack

Andrea has nearly three decades of experience working as a reporter, anchor, producer and editor for public radio, large market television news and CBS radio. In her current role as KQED’s Sr. Science Editor, Andrea helps lead a talented team covering science, technology, health and the environment for broadcast and digital platforms. Most recently she helped KQED launch a new, multimedia initiative covering the intersection of technology, health and medical science. She has earned a number of accolades for her work including awards from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Associated Press. Her work can be seen, and heard, on a number of networks, Including NPR, PBS, CBS and the BBC.

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