It took a while before Toyota came on the market with a self-developed EV that is produced in large numbers, but the Toyota bZ4x still has a predecessor within the group. The Toyota RAV4 EV was already there in 1997. Photos of the all-electric Toyota RAV4 EV should actually be available as cheerful postcards from sunny California because the car owes its existence entirely to the regulations in that one American state.
Governments ask, car manufacturers turn. Not always, of course, but when rules came into force in California that severely cut into the model ranges that the brands had to carry locally. If they did not comply, the authorities kindly but firmly pointed to the imaginary hole in the door. What had to be done? Ah, two percent of the delivered cars could no longer emit any emissions at all, that was the requirement at the end of the 1990s. This necessitated the hasty development of electric models. Toyota opted for a modified RAV4, known to us at the time under its stage name FunCruiser.
RAV4 EV got 153 kilometers away
The two-liter petrol engine went out, as did the rear-wheel drive because the RAV EV continued its career as a front-wheel drive. Mind you, this was back in the days when EVs weren’t all about naughty acceleration figures; it was especially important to rake together a bit of mature range with the available battery material. The RAV EV received a nickel-metal hydride battery with a not-so-bad capacity of 27.4 kWh. This gave the car a range of 153 kilometers according to local measurement methods. Quite acceptable, and probably enough for most Americans even for their commute.
The performance was only just adequate, as it took the RAV4 in all sails eighteen nail-biting seconds to whiz to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h). Of course, in an EV you forget to go full throttle all the time, which means that normal bumping along with traffic must have been quite a challenge. Still, some consideration is in order, if only because we are dealing with Toyota’s first series-produced EV. Don’t think too big, because only 2,600 pieces would appear; the majority was leased to companies and then resold on the second-hand market. So a bit of a must, this RAV4 EV, which Toyota has not been able to convince for a long time that electric was better than a hybrid. But now there is the bZ4X,
In 2010, Toyota reintroduced the RAV4 EV; the powertrain had been developed by Tesla on behalf of Toyota. A lithium-ion battery of 41.8 kWh gave a range of 166 km. 2,489 of this electric SUV, delivered only in California, have been sold.