2012 Toyota RAV4 EV Packs a Tesla Electric Motor and Starts at $49,800

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Photo: Toyota

Toyota has unveiled the production version of the Toyota RAV4 EV that looks a lot like the standard RAV4 models. The 2012 RAV4 EV may look almost identical to the conventional RAV4, but the exciting part of the package is what lies under the hood. The RAV4 EV is the first vehicle to result from the recent Toyota and Tesla Motors partnership, which means that the RAV4 EV is powered by a battery pack and electric motor that have been developed by Tesla.

The RAV4 EV is a front-wheel-drive electric crossover that is powered by a 154 horsepower electric motor with a range of around 100 miles. It has two driving modes. In Sport mode the RAV4 EV can reach 0-60 mph in seven seconds and has a top speed of 100 mph. In Normal mode, the electric RAV4 can reach 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds and has a top speed of 85 mph. Toyota states that it will take about six hours to recharge the lithium ion battery using a 240-volt charger. The battery is also under warranty for eight years or 100,000 miles.

Photo: Toyota

The only real styling changes to the RAV4 EV are to maximize the airflow around the electric crossover. Compared to the conventional RAV4, the RAV4 EV has a restyled front bumper, upper and lower grill, side mirrors, rear spoiler, and under body. The RAV4 EV weighs approximately 470 pounds more than a V6 RAV4.

Photo: Toyota

On big plus is that even with its electric powertrain and lithium-ion battery, the RAV4 EV still has a maximum cargo volume of 73 cubic feet and seating for five.

Photo: Toyota

The 2012 RAV4 EV hits showrooms this summer with a starting price at $49,800, which is before any federal or state incentives. It will initially be offered in major California markets, like Sacramento, the Bay Area, LA, Orange County and San Diego.

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